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Port Antonio facelift to restore town beauty

Published:Tuesday | April 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Mayor of Port Antonio, Benny White, is assisted by a resident to clear a drain at the corner of Harbour and West streets in Portland on Sunday. - PHOTO BY GARETH DAVIS

Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer


THE RESORT town of Port Antonio received a much-needed facelift on Sunday - an initiative undertaken by Mayor Benny White, with assistance from a number of state agencies and other volunteers.

The clean-up exercise and beautification come at a time when business operators, tourism interests and other stakeholders have been highly critical of the deplorable state of sidewalks, drains, culverts and potholes in the town.

"I will not tolerate a filthy town. For 10 days since assuming the post as mayor of Port Antonio, I have toured the entire township, and I was deeply bothered by the deplorable state of our sidewalks, manhole coverings and potholes. I also observed that dozens of business places are in dire need of a facelift," said White.

Restoring civic pride

He added: "As long as I am mayor of this town, civic pride will have to be restored. I am taking the bull by the horn and, starting today (Sunday), the sidewalks and corridors will be washed down using power hoses, no-parking areas will be repainted, and potholes will be fixed."

According to White, he will be engaging business operators in talks to discuss the way forward in restoring cleanliness to the town, which is a huge turn-off to residents, who are exposed to filth and garbage daily in a town where tourism started.

Several business operators, including Garfield Sinclair of Kamal's Supermarket and Cambio, who witnessed the clean-up exercise, commended the new mayor for the initiative.

"It is a well-needed facelift. For too long, the powers that be have turned a blind eye on the filthy conditions along the various streets in Port Antonio. It is the first step in restoring beauty to the town, and it is important to us as business operators to partner with the parish council in ensuring that work is continued."

The Port Antonio fire department provided a power hose, which was used to wash debris from sidewalks and drains. Additionally, a team from the Portland Parish Council, the Ministry of Health, the Chamber of Commerce, the business community and residents donated equipment and assisted with the clean-up.