Kelly's World | St Mary in my DNA
Now let's be clear about one thing; St Mary is in my DNA.
That's where my dad is from, and that's where I still have many relatives residing. One of the most idyllic spots I have ever visited in Jamaica, Strawberry Fields, is located there. When I do travel through or to the parish, I marvel at the beauty of it.
But though I have more than my fair share of family members still living in the parish, I visit once in a blue moon. There are two reasons. In fairness, the first one is that I'm not much of an explorer where I just jump in the car and start driving. I'll never go round the world in 80 days like the novel of the same name.
But the other reason is that di road dem nuh good. The Junction main road is the quickest way to get to Ochi and Portland for me, because I live in West Rural St Andrew. I live closer to the St Mary border than I do to Half-Way Tree. But di road bad! When the whole by-election took place last year in South East St Mary, I quipped that this was the most attention the constituency had ever received. My relatives ironically live in that constituency, a hilly area known as Camberwell. I lift my hat to the people who traverse that roadway daily, because my likkle Swift really couldn't manage dem trip deh.
And it's things like this that bother me about St Mary. I hear people say that St Thomas is the most forgotten parish in Jamaica. Others might make the same argument for Hanover (by the way, that's where my mom is from). Well, St Mary isn't far behind despite boasting some lovely seaside establishments. Too many people just use St Mary as a conduit to get to the north coast or to Portland. Personally, there are parts of St Mary that are just as beautiful as any spot in Jamaica. But dem nah get the love from the wider society.
Part of that is on people like me, the media, because the parish isn't necessarily highlighted for its good things. But you have to believe that if the powers that be (and continue to be) actually put more effort into building the parish, things would be better. There's too much history and appeal for the parish to not capitalise.
Thing is, I think I understand how St Mary gets overlooked. Just like St Thomas and Hanover, St Mary is located in a 'bad' spot. St Thomas has the lush Portland to one side and Kingston and St Andrew, the hub of Jamaica basically, to the other. Hanover is between tourist favourites MoBay and Negril. Well, St Mary is between Ochi and Runaway Bay and Portland. So it will lag behind in the ranking of nice places to live and all those other indexes.
But hope springs eternal for a turnaround. And if it's one parish that needs it, St Mary would be it. Let's make it happen.
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