Andrew Smith, Photography Editor
Left: Jamaica Labour Party candidate, Joseph Hibbert. Right: People's National Party candidate, Mikael Phillips.
The constituency of East Rural St. Andrew is large and varied.
Comprising five electoral divisions, the north is dominated by the foothills of the Blue Mountains in Gordon Town and Mavis Bank divisions. The Kintyre division is sandwiched between these divisions and the southern coastal divisions of Harbour View and Dallas.
Although the area is relatively large (15.5km by 9.5km at its widest sections), the population in the constituency is sparse, especially in the north. There are 36 polling divisions in Gordon Town, and 37 in Mavis Bank, fewer than the 39 found in the Harbour View division, which is just 10 per cent of the area of one of the northern divisions.
In the district of Redlight, located between Irish Town and Newcastle, a group of youths on the side of the roads emphasise the need for job training and a community centre. Andrésays, "We need more employment and less police harassment."
His colleagues say they would like a training centre for engineering, carpentry, construction and welding. The group also said that such a centre would foster unity and community spirit.
For the residents of Mavis Bank, there is a myriad of issues that need to be addressed.
According to Luwen Minott, who works at the library, "Investment is needed in the youth and the community." She says a training and activity centre is necessary, since many young people are idle.
At the same time, her fellow residents believe this is the fault of many of the youth, since "easy money dem want", emphasising that many of the older people farm in St. Thomas in order to make a living. However, it appears that most young people do not want to farm.
Sergeant Dwyer of the Mavis Bank police station says that "few people who need work can't get it".
In the past, he says, he had suggested that a police youth club be established and a chicken or pig farm be set up, but young people were not interested.
He adds tha the Mavis Bank coffee factory hires residents from nearby communities, another factory would help, similar to the pig factory which closed down years ago.
Other forms of development include making use of the community as an important transit point on the way to Blue Mountain Peak.
Ms. Minott says the Tourism Product Development Company could establish a craft shop that would encourage tourists and visitors to buy Blue Mountain souvenirs.
The health centre is also in need of upgrading and permanent staff.
According to residents, the nurse arrives at 11:00 a.m. patients start lining up at 7:00 a.m.
Other residents highlight the need for constant piped water. According to Paul, "We need proper water facilities in Mavis Bank. We can't bathe and we have so much river. It's a big disgrace." The water problems have reached such a difficult point that residents are forced to pay drivers to collect water at the nearby spring.
*Names changed upon request.
Mavis Bank High School in the constituency of East Rural St. Andrew schools are present in Mavis Bank, some residents claim there is a high illiteracy rate. - Andrew Smith/Photography Editor