Tue | Mar 9, 2021

Wheatley leads committee into Portmore parish deliberations

Published:Wednesday | December 16, 2020 | 5:02 PM
Dr Andrew Wheatley (file photo)

Dr Andrew Wheatley, who chairs the 14-member Joint Parliamentary Committee to review the proposal for the city of Portmore to become the 15th parish, has urged committee members to ensure that the Sunshine City becomes the blueprint towards the advancement of other parishes in the country. 

Wheatley is making a comeback of sorts, having resigned as energy minister in 2018 to allow issues surrounding the management of the Energy, Science and Technology portfolio to be ventilated. 

He was picked by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to lead the committee that will pass on recommendations to Parliament for making Portmore the 15th parish of Jamaica. 

Speaking on the issue, Wheatley said there should be no mistake with granting Portmore parish status. 

 “This process really seeks to give Portmore full autonomy. If you look at the situation as it is, you have had councillors in Portmore doubling up because they are sitting in Spanish Town as well, while the councillors in Spanish Town are not allowed to sit in Portmore. 

"So what we are seeking to do is to tidy up the arrangement to ensure that Portmore has that autonomy and put in place other services to enhance the operation of Portmore, with moving it to the next stage." 

Key to this development is that in 2001 the number of communities increased from 22 in 1991 to 40 communities, with the introduction of the Greater Portmore housing developments along the western boundaries of Portmore. 

In September, Holness formally promised the people through the JLP manifesto that given all the unique features of Portmore, it was the administration’s desire to structure its development in a sustainable way that will benefit the people by designating it a parish.  

“It is not something that we should take lightly because legislatively we can run through the process of establishing the 15th parish, but this is more than a legislative gesture,” Wheatley said. 

The committee is comprised of and include as chairman Dr Wheatley, Delroy Chuck, Marlene Malahoo Forte, Everald Warmington, Homer Davis, Robert Miller, Fitz Jackson, Joyce Daley, Senator Damion Crawford, Senator Leslie Campbell, Senator Delroy Williams, Senator Natalie Campbell-Rodriques, Senator Sherene Golding Campbell, and Senator Floyd Morris. 

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