Sat | Oct 21, 2017

Mayor wants capital relocated

Published:Thursday | June 18, 2015 | 12:00 AMShanique Samuels
A section of May Pen, Clarendon.
A section of May Pen, Clarendon.
A section of May Pen, Clarendon.
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Mayor of May Pen Scean Barnswell says the Government may need to start looking for a site to relocate the parish capital as May Pen had outgrown itself. The Clarendon capital was dubbed the fastest-growing town in the island, but lately, the once-booming hub of commercial activity has been slowly losing its shine.

"I think we may need to start looking at identifying a new parish capital; there is not much more we can do with May Pen. It's the same way Chapelton had outgrown itself and then it moved to May Pen. So maybe now is a good time to start looking at setting up a new parish capital. We need to look at either expanding the town to the west or create a new town wherever possible," he said.

Barnswell said the town centre was overrun by vendors from Kingston and St Catherine and business operators were constantly complaining that they cannot adequately facilitate legitimate customers, and that was having a negative impact on their profits.

"I have had several meetings with the police and formal reports have been made."

He said he had also written to Local Government Minister Noel Arscott for him to solicit the assistance of his Cabinet colleague, National Security Minister Peter Bunting.

NO NEEDTO RELOCATE

However, Central Clarendon Member of Parliament Mike Henry counteracted the argument of relocating the town. While he admitted that the town had outgrown itself, he said much more could be done there.

"What happened to our airspace? If there is no space on the ground, then build tall buildings to accommodate more businesses. In many parts of the world, there are buildings several storeys high from which multimillion-dollar businesses operate."

Henry said the population of the town had been undercounted, causing improper planning and development.

"May Pen has no central sewerage system and that poses a problem for several fast-food establishments, a few of which have closed down business and left the capital."

Henry argued that, for years, the parish council had been unable to find the underground drains to rehabilitate them so that they would be able to manage large volumes of water when it rains.

rural@gleanerjm.com