Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Open them! - president displeased about neglected factories

Published:Tuesday | January 24, 2017 | 1:08 AMClaudia Gardner
A section of the now-defunct Karla Factory at the Haughton Industrial Estate in Lucea, Hanover.

President of the Lucea Development Area Committee, Dwayne Clayton, says he is concerned about the failure of the Factories Corporation of Jamaica to get the facilities which once hosted the Karla Garment Factory in Haughton Court back into production.

Karla was closed in 1996 after a section of the building was gutted by fire and left several hundred workers, mainly women from Hanover, jobless. Currently, it is listed on the Factories Corporation of Jamaica's website and described as having amenities, including a paved roadway, electricity, telephone and piped water supply, a situation Clayton believes is not good enough.

"My concern is, what is the government doing about it? They say they want to create jobs, so here is an avenue for job opportunities; it has not been used for almost 21 years now. No one has looked on it; I have not heard of any developments for it. What's happening? Why not use the facility that is there? Try to get somebody to invest in it?" Clayton said.

"The concern is huge, because with the wave of crime, sometimes it is caused by lack of employment, quality employment that is. These people who are committing crime, they are not dunces. They have brains, but there is nothing for them after going to school and gaining their education. There is nothing for them to do unless they have the money to go to Kingston to gain opportunities. The fortunate few will get something to grab on to up there, while we have so many factories locked down here," he added.

Clayton said he was particularly disappointed, as Karla was not the only factory, in the parish which have been abandoned for many years.

"It is not only the Karla Factory, but there is the kite factory and the ball factory and the cocoa factory which have been dormant for about thirty-something years. Nobody is doing anything about them. We have the facilities, but we need to get some help. Even if it is to use some of the factories as training centres," he said.