St Mary PDC head has big plans for the parish
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
As the newly elected chairman of the St Mary Parish Development Committee (PDC), Raymond Grant plans to revive a flagging organisation, which is supposed to coordinate and monitor local development, but has been temporarily immobilised by the collapse of its executive body.
At the PDC's annual general meeting last week, members were informed that no administrative records had been logged for the previous 12 months, and of the 26 affiliated committees stationed across the parish, only 10 are legally registered.
Speaking shortly after the confirmation of his new appointment, Grant declined to comment on the reasons for the deterioration of the previous executive board, preferring instead to focus on his aspirations for the parish.
He told Rural Xpress: "I'm pleased to be re-elected and serving again, and my aim, with my new executive, is to move the PDC to a higher level. There are some issues because the PDC went into decline for the past year, and so there was no executive, only a chairman, who did very well to take it thus far by himself. Subsequently, there were no reports from the secretary or treasurer, and no admin reports for the past year. We hope and trust that will never happen again.
"Right now, we are focused on undertaking a greenhouse project in western St Mary, and we have a recycling project that could be a catalyst for funding. There are other projects, and these are some of the things the executive board will look at when we meet up."
Grant, who works with the Office of the Prime Minister in charge of the Constituency Development Fund, is confident the organisation can become a valuable resource if it is able to deliver the two things the parish needs most: employment and greater community cohesion.
He explained: "The benefit of a functioning PDC is that I'm sure the parish will be much better off, and the town of Port Maria will be a better place. We're also going to try and bring in the chamber of commerce because to move the parish, there needs to be cohesiveness with all stakeholders across the board.
"If we come together, there is no doubt that we'll help to stem crime and lawlessness in Port Maria, so we're going to partner with the parish council and the police in that area. Unemployment is the biggest issue facing the people of St Mary, but there is a lot that can be done about that.
"For one, if we can have people in various communities gathering plastic bottles and bringing them to the recycling stations for our recycling project, that creates a salary. It may not be big, but at least you'll be getting something to help you move out of poverty, little by little."