Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Give us back our community centre – Summerfield residents

Published:Wednesday | July 8, 2020 | 12:18 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Janette Foster, president of the Community Development Committee in Summerfield, Clarendon.
Janette Foster, president of the Community Development Committee in Summerfield, Clarendon.

The temporary relocation of several services from the Chapelton Hospital in Clarendon to the Donald Sangster community centre, Summerfield is presenting a challenge to residents in the parish.

The changes took place on April 1, 2019, and was expected to last for six months, but with the community centre still being used for medical care, president for the Community Development Committee, Janet Foster, is among those expressing concern.

Foster said before the hospital was relocated to the community centre, classes for unattached youths were held at the facility. However, that is now in limbo.

“People keep asking me when classes will resume and where it will be held, but right now we have no option, as we have no venue,” Foster said.

“Nobody saying anything, they just keep going on and on,” she lamented. Foster said that two weeks ago, she got two water tanks for the community centre for the purpose of water harvesting; however, she had to ask a female staff there to store the tanks inside until it is installed.

“She had to call the health authorities to find out if she can put them in there; and up to last week, she asking when I’m gonna take them out. I have to be hiding from her ‘cause I don’t know what to tell her,” she said.

Foster said she gathered volunteers to clean up the playfield and outer areas of the facility on Labour Day as there was a lot of garbage there, but instead of focusing on this area, they had to instead clean the interior of the building, since the influx of persons using the centre has resulted in the deterioration of the facility.

Charmaine Muschette, another resident from the community, said she personally knows of a patient who died before they could get to May Pen for attention.

“People get sick, they die before they reach to May Pen. The clinic was supposed to be there for six months, and it is now in its second year,” she said.


For Muschette, they are not even receiving prime service, as she said they close off most days by 4 p.m., so if someone falls ill after that, they have to seek assistance elsewhere.

“Persons go to the clinic and they have to turn back, because they say they are only seeing a set number of persons,” she related.

“I really would like to know when the Chapelton Hospital will be functioning and what is taking them so long,” she quizzed.

The caretaker for the constituency, Dr Desmond Brennan, said “dozens of people actually died because of the lack of service”.

“I can count on my hand five of my close patients who died because the hospital is in that state,” he said, adding that no social event can be planned in Summerfield anymore with the clinic there.

However, the contender for the seat, Robert Nesta Morgan, said if a visit is paid to the Chapelton Hospital, which is being upgraded, then they will have a better understanding of the situation.

“It’s really a challenge … I’m not the member of parliament, but my understanding is that we have got some delays in terms of the renovation … but at the end of the day, people have been sacrificing by giving up the use of the centre so that we can have a better hospital to serve the community.”

The wait, according to Morgan, will be worth it for the residents as a massive redevelopment is being planned for the community centre. According to him, there are plans to make it a technology innovation centre – a full service one. The timeline for that is over the next five years.