Sun | Apr 30, 2017

Big vision for Montego Bay

Published:Saturday | August 29, 2015 | 8:00 AM

Partisan politics is a part of our democratic process and can be healthy, however, when partisan politics starts to devour national development, there must be a revolutionary change to benefit the people in order that they can move, in the shortest possible time, from poverty to prosperity.

The failure by any political directorate to truly understand this point means that they are not interested in the people of Jamaica, and this can only be considered to be an anti-development approach, which must be rejected by the people of city of Montego Bay and, by extension, St James.

The Old Shoe Market came to prominence in late 2002 and has been a sore point for the St James Parish Council since. Located on prime real estate in downtown Montego Bay, the area has evolved into a shanty town and has been the subject of several nefarious activities over the years.

The primary reason for this is the inability and lack of leadership on the part of the parish council to implement workable solutions in conjunction with the stakeholders, especially the vendors.

OLD SHOE MARKET FIRE

The fire at the Old Shoe Market recently and the loss of an estimated $75 million by 30 vendors, who are now left in dire need, especially in these difficult economic times reveals an anti-development approach to city development.

Over the last 20 years, there has been talk and more talk of a Montego Bay city development plan, a St James parish development plan, and many more. Money and resources have been expended over the years; however, the recent fire at the Old Shoe Market and the multimillion-dollar loss to vendors could suggest that Montego Bay does not really have a sustainable economic development plan.

The concept of sustainable economic development in Montego Bay, St James, remains a paper concept only, to be highlighted when it suits its political agents provocateurs.

What would a sustainable development plan do for Montego Bay?

In a November 29, 2014, Jamaica Observer article, we were told that Montego Bay was on the road to becoming a smart city under the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative. What has happened recently at the Old Shoe Market does not reflect a smart city approach?

The citizens of the Old Shoe Market will want to know how their lives will be improved, as clearly this initiative has not benefited the vendors.

We ask that the St James Parish Council emulate the energy and fixity of purpose that the Government has applied to passing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tests to avoid another anti-development city episode. Emerging cities like Montego Bay need planning processes that are specific and action-oriented - capable of bringing about quality of life for citizens.

HEROY CLARKE

Jamaica Labour Party Caretaker

Central St James

heroyclarke@gmail.com