Rural Express: Evergreen even brighter after receiving electricity
Evergreen, Manchester:They have good roads, access to water, schools, churches, businesses, and a significant number of youth considered to be on the right path academically. Sounds ideal, right? Maybe not to many who could soon find out that the community, up to two weeks ago, operated without electricity.
The Evergreen community, more specifically Brooklyn District, turned out in their numbers at the Hyde Park United Church to witness, for the first time, the official lighting of the community.
The project, made possible through the Community Development Fund, with additional assistance from the Government and the Rural Electrification Programme (REP), saw a total of J$11.5 million being spent to have the precious utility available to the residents.
"I am so elated knowing that we have reached this milestone that we so longed for. We have been battered. We have been torn, but God saw us through," said an overjoyed Jasmine Griffiths.
With even persons who once lived in the community travelling from as far as Spanish Town to witness the moment, member of parliament for the area, Mikael Phillips, said this is the sort of rural development that will lend itself to national development.
"If we don't get development in these rural communities, that growth my father wants to see in the economy ... he will not see it until true development comes to the people in rural Jamaica. I'm not saying that we haven't done anything as a government, but we still have a lot more to accomplish."
Echoing the MP's sentiments, chairman of the REP, Dr Garnett Roper, said with electricity present, the future for the community is theirs for the taking. He urged the community to think about building a boarding school, installing cell towers for Wi-Fi and looking forward to social and economic advancement.
The Evergreen community lighting has been the fourth in a three-year period in north west Manchester and communities such as Angel Land, GlenHead, and sections of Huntley will see similar development for the new budget year.
"There are just some critical things that people need; even before road, light is critical. We have so many bright children in the constituency, and you have heard it before that the church itself can't keep programmes because of the lack of electricity, so we are happy for this development."
Phillips sent a warning to those with plans of attaching wires to steal electricity that he will personally notify the police and have them arrested.
Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell, who was on site to officially light the community, expressed that with the need for several other rural communities in the country to receive electricity, a total of $74 million will be donated to the REP fund by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.
With the need also to have persons conserve on electricity and reduce their monthly Jamaica Public Service (JPS) bills, the minister promised to change the incandescent bulbs of the Hyde Park Church, where the service was held, to LED bulbs.