Mark Titus, Gleaner Writer
Larine Harriot has lived in Siloah all her life and believes there is no place like this little town located on the sugar belt of northeastern St Elizabeth.
In fact, had it not been for the lack of employment opportunities and the steady migration of the younger generation to urban areas in search of work, there would be no problems in Siloah.
"We don't have any problem with crime. There is hardly any domestic dispute," the 72-year-old said on Monday. "It's a very peaceful community, but there is a need for work. Employment is needed because we [are] losing our young people."
Predominantly a farming community, Siloah dates back to the 1800s. It is made up of a number of districts such as Spring, Windsor, Windsor Road, and Mosquito Bottom.
While none of the three residents Western Focus saw sitting in the town square could say how the town originated, the constabulary station, built in 1894, is said to be the second-oldest building in the area behind the St Barnards Anglican Church, whose date of origin could not be determined.
APPLETON PLAYS KEY ROLE
Fifty-five-year-old Keith Wright, a janitor at the police station, and Conroy Mendez, 49, could not agree on how many residents were living in Siloah, but both were of the view that Appleton Estate Sugar Factory has been the backbone of the economy in Siloah.
"If it were not for Appleton, we would have suffered for sure. But that being said, I would not give away Siloah for any other place," Wright said.
Member of Parliament (MP) Raymond Pryce agrees that Appleton Estate plays a key role in the economy of the region, but says education will continue to be the primary mechanism through which Siloah - and by extension, the constituency - will achieve its economic objectives.
"We have a large number of students from the Siloah area who are either in med (medicine) school, law school, or at the Caribbean Maritime Institute. Many of them receive support to continue their studies through the Constituency Development Fund under the education support component," he said.
In addition, the MP has established the North East St Elizabeth Jubilee Scholarship, which will see the top-performing boy and girl from each primary school in the constituency receiving full scholarships to cover fees and books for their secondary education.