Mayors welcome development news for island’s major townships
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, in his address during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Morant Bay Urban Centre last week, told parish leaders that there is no need to ‘bad mind’ St Thomas and declared that all major townships will be developed.
Stressing that he had underscored the need to pay close attention to the town centres across Jamaica during his campaigning for the 2016 general election, Holness said during that time he visited every parish capital and toured almost every major town in the country.
“I hosted a series of meetings called ‘Prosperity Live’. Those meetings were quite successful. It was intended to be a campaign not just to lift political spirits, but to engage in a general conversation about changing the narrative from poverty to prosperity,” the prime minister said.
The news of plans to develop town centres islandwide was welcomed by at least two parish council leaders, Black River Mayor Derrick Sangster and Port Maria Mayor Richard Creary.
“We need that sort of injection for development. It would enhance commercial activities and increase the economic proficiency. We look forward to this initiative,” said Sangster, in considering the impact on Black River.
Holness said he believed some of the towns across the island have extreme potential that can be enhanced with planning.
“It wasn’t just St Thomas I toured, and the problems of St Thomas are not unique to St Thomas,” he said.
“Indeed, the problems of Morant Bay are not unique to Morant Bay. As I travelled around Jamaica, what was clear is that some towns were dying, but others were bursting at the seams, population was growing, there was energy there, energy for commerce, business and industry, and entertainment.”
He added: “But with that energy was chaos, because there was no real plan for development of the towns. The towns had outgrown its functional capacity, traffic was uncontrolled, whether it was vehicular or pedestrian. Public order in most towns broken down; sanitation in most towns deplorable; so these towns, while having great potential and great energy, this energy is limiting the potential if there was no overarching plan for its development.”