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Letter of the Day | Towards a master plan

Published:Thursday | July 20, 2017 | 12:00 AM


Frank Manborde, chairman of the Little London and Paul Island Community Development Council, penned a letter asking for a master plan relative to the sugar industry, which I wholeheartedly support. The sugar industry has changed, as well as the demographic available for participation in it.

The clear need for a master plan is demonstrated every day. Just take a look at the intractable matters of crime, economic malaise and housing. While we grapple with these problems, the issues of food and housing must be dealt with. Regardless of what we do, if the population is not well fed and housed, the problems of crime and housing will never be corrected.

A master plan will help to prioritise and process those elements that we have been able to do well and for which we are known. So, while we prepare this master plan, an action plan must be developed for immediate implementation to resuscitate and support the many small farms around the country. The immediate problems of praedial larceny, transportation and processing come to mind. I think that of the $2.75 billion going towards the new crime zone initiative and wonder how much of this amount would enable a national food production effort with effective security and processing of crops.

I notice that those seeking elected office never put forward a vision of what they plan to do or how they intend to do it, relative to the benefit of all their constituents. We have instead pronouncements based on popular sentiment, not often based on reality. For example, to say that a person is seeking to represent a community to continue a previous representative's undertakings seems lacking in content when we look at the conditions of the representative's constituency. However, success can be many things to many people.




I encourage the Planning Institute of Jamaica to get together with the Statistical Institute of Jamaica and the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to be bold and create costing and a framework for a national master plan in order to get this started. In preparation of this and to return to relevance, the UDC must return to its core mission of planning, and hire more planners to lead this important undertaking.

The UDC is key to our future development and must be taken from the political trophy room and placed in the competent hands of professionals with the necessary resources for those who are passionate and patriotic about the development of Jamaica for all Jamaicans, and perhaps, most importantly, capable and up to this task.

Hugh M Dunbar