Residents unimpressed by St James councillors
Residents of some municipal divisions within St James seem not to be overly impressed with the level of performance of some of their councillors over the last four years.
In the Montego Bay South East Division, which encompasses communities such as Rose Heights, Farm Heights, and Rose Mount, some residents say that Councillor Knollis King, who is also a pastor, is not visible in certain sections of his division and has done little to facilitate the repairs of roadways and street lighting.
"I have only heard about this councillor through the grapevine," said one woman who requested anonymity. "I have never met him here. I will not be voting for him in the next election, as I would want a change in my community for more to be done. He needs to pay attention to community repairs, road water, everything."
Her words, however, were countered by another resident, Cleopatra Ebanks, who lauded King's many undertakings to spruce up the division, particularly in her home community of Farm Heights.
"I would give Pastor King a grade of eight out of 10 performance because from what I see, he does what he can, especially the road, like the ones from Green Pond to Farm Heights and also from Rose Mount to Rose Heights," Ebanks said.
Such praises, however, were not too forthcoming for veteran councillor and Mayor of Montego Bay Glendon Harris.
For Harris's Maroon Town Division, the issue of running water was the main concern, with one woman claiming: "No representation is being made and he has had this position for over 20 years."
Montego Bay South residents were more content with the representation by Councillor Suzette Brown, stating that there has been good garbage collection and repairs. However, street lights across the division were said to be in dire need of repairs, particularly in sections of Mt Salem such as Austin Avenue.
First-time councillors King and Brown also reacted to the issues raised in their respective divisions. King said that in addition to road repairs, he has done major drain cleaning, as well as implemented youth-based programmes for talented and underprivileged youngsters. He said his main challenge at present is getting the National Housing Trust (NHT) to install a proper drainage system and road in the Rose Mount Gardens area.
"I have been lobbying with NHT for over three years because each time there is rain, the people in Rose Mount Gardens suffer some sort of disaster," said King.
Brown, on the other hand, said that while most of her division has functioning street lights, she has been having discussions with the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) to provide for the sections that are without.
"Even up to yesterday, I was on the phone with JPS about the lights on Perry Street, Sewell Gully, and Cornwall Gardens, and I was given a commitment that those will be fixed," she shared.
Brown said that she has been visible across the division and has been instrumental in personally aiding some needy citizens, including fire victims.
"I've constructed 13 houses and none of the (parish) council's resources was used. I wrote letters to business friends and associates for materials for these families of Canterbury and Barracks Road. Out of 10, I give myself 20 for what I have accomplished for the people as a first-time councillor. I am a working councillor on every level," she said.