Res­i­dents unim­pressed by St James coun­cil­lors

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Okoye Henry Gleaner Writer

The St James Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion build­ing. RES­I­DENTS OF some mu­nic­i­pal di­vi­sions within St James seem not to be overly im­pressed with the level of per­for­mance of some of their coun­cil­lors over the last four years.

In the Mon­tego Bay South East Divi­sion, which en­com­passes com­mu­ni­ties such as Rose Heights, Farm Heights, and Rose Mount, some res­i­dents say that Coun­cil­lor Knol­lis King, who is also a pas­tor, is not vis­i­ble in cer­tain sec­tions of his divi­sion and has done lit­tle to fa­cil­i­tate the re­pairs of road­ways and street light­ing.

“I have only heard about this coun­cil­lor through the grapevine,” said one woman who re­quested anonymity. “I have never met him here. I will not be vot­ing for him in the next elec­tion, as I would want a change in my com­mu­nity for more to be done. He needs to pay at­ten­tion to com­mu­nity re­pairs, road wa­ter, ev­ery­thing.”

Her words, how­ever, were coun­tered by an­other res­i­dent, Cleopa­tra Ebanks, who lauded King’s many un­der­tak­ings to spruce up the divi­sion, par­tic­u­larly in her home com­mu­nity of Farm Heights.

“I would give Pas­tor King a grade of eight out of 10 per­for­mance be­cause from what I see, he does what he can, es­pe­cially the road, like the ones from Green Pond to Farm Heights and also from Rose Mount to Rose Heights,” Ebanks said.

Such praises, how­ever, were not too forth­com­ing for vet­eran coun­cil­lor and Mayor of Mon­tego Bay Glen­don Har­ris.

WA­TER CON­CERN

For Har­ris’s Ma­roon Town Divi­sion, the is­sue of run­ning wa­ter was the main con­cern, with one woman claim­ing: “No rep­re­sen­ta­tion is be­ing made and he has had this po­si­tion for over 20 years.”

Mon­tego Bay South res­i­dents were more con­tent with the rep­re­sen­ta­tion by Coun­cil­lor Suzette Brown, stat­ing that there has been good garbage col­lec­tion and re­pairs. How­ever, street lights across the divi­sion were said to be in dire need of re­pairs, par­tic­u­larly in sec­tions of Mt Salem such as Austin Av­enue.

First-time coun­cil­lors King and Brown also re­acted to the is­sues raised in their re­spec­tive di­vi­sions. King said that in ad­di­tion to road re­pairs, he has done ma­jor drain clean­ing, as well as im­ple­mented youth-based pro­grammes for tal­ented and un­der­priv­i­leged young­sters. He said his main chal­lenge at present is get­ting the Na­tional Hous­ing Trust (NHT) to in­stall a proper drainage sys­tem and road in the Rose Mount Gar­dens area.

“I have been lob­by­ing with NHT for over three years be­cause each time there is rain, the peo­ple in Rose Mount Gar­dens suf­fer some sort of dis­as­ter,” said King.

Brown, on the other hand, said that while most of her divi­sion has func­tion­ing street lights, she has been hav­ing dis­cus­sions with the Ja­maica Pub­lic Ser­vice (JPS) to pro­vide for the sec­tions that are with­out.

“Even up to yes­ter­day, I was on the phone with JPS about the lights on Perry Street, Sewell Gully, and Corn­wall Gar­dens, and I was given a com­mit­ment that those will be fixed,” she shared.

Brown said that she has been vis­i­ble across the divi­sion and has been in­stru­men­tal in per­son­ally aid­ing some needy cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing fire vic­tims.

“I’ve con­structed 13 houses and none of the (parish) coun­cil’s re­sources was used. I wrote let­ters to busi­ness friends and as­so­ciates for ma­te­ri­als for these fam­i­lies of Can­ter­bury and Bar­racks Road. Out of 10, I give my­self 20 for what I have ac­com­plished for the peo­ple as a first-time coun­cil­lor. I am a work­ing coun­cil­lor on ev­ery level,” she said.

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