On the road to pros­per­ity

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

The fol­low­ing is an ex­cerpt from Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for South West St El­iz­a­beth Floyd Green’s maiden con­tri­bu­tion to the State of the Con­stituency De­bate in Gor­don House: URING MY over-twoyear so­journ with the peo­ple of South West St El­iz­a­beth, as the Ja­maica Labour Party’s (JLP’s) rep­re­sen­ta­tive I was able to glean their needs and de­sires and some of the fun­da­men­tal is­sues that have plagued their com­mu­ni­ties. From their ex­pe­ri­ences, sug­ges­tions, and my own re­search, I pro­duced a de­vel­op­ment plan that forms the ba­sis of this pre­sen­ta­tion.

DWATER FOR PROS­PER­ITY

More than half of our pop­u­la­tion is with­out potable wa­ter. Com­mu­ni­ties like Stone­field, Ar­ling­ton, Vine­yard and many oth­ers have never seen wa­ter run through their pipes. In the ar­eas where there is in fact a potable wa­ter sup­ply, the pipes are an­ti­quated, sub­ject to fre­quent breaks and of­ten un­der­sized.

The fact is that the Na­tional Wa­ter Com­mis­sion (NWC) is un­der-re­sourced and must be bet­ter man­aged to ad­dress some of our press­ing wa­ter is­sues. The Sandy Ground to Black River pipe­line must be changed; the pipe­line from Luana to Mid­dle Quar­ters, also needs to be ad­dressed and the pump at the Mid­dle Quar­ters pump sta­tion re­placed. Thank­fully, the min­is­ter with re­spon­si­bil­ity for wa­ter, Dr Ho­race Chang, has in­di­cated that these are pri­or­i­ties.

That treats with potable wa­ter, but there is a larger is­sue re­lat­ing to wa­ter for farm­ing: South West St El­iz­a­beth is home to the most reg­is­tered farm­ers in the coun­try. Over the past few years, be­cause of ex­ten­sive droughts and the ab­sence of an ir­ri­ga­tion sup­ply, our farm­ers have suf­fered. We have the skill, ex­pe­ri­ence and young peo­ple who want to go into farm­ing. But, we need wa­ter. I have had a se­ries of meet­ings with pri­va­teec­tor in­ter­ests, in­ter­na­tional part­ners, com­mu­nity mem­bers, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Na­tional Ir­ri­ga­tion Com­mis­sion.

As a Gov­ern­ment, we have started on the right note in South West re­lat­ing to wa­ter. In keeping with a project which com­menced in 2008, we were able to break ground on July 16 for the in­stal­la­tion of 4.6 kilo­me­tres of pipe from Hun­slow to Newell, which will in­crease the flow of wa­ter into ar­eas like Bethany, Hun­slow, Newell, Wil­liams­field, Trea­sure Beach and Bar­bary Hall. Ad­di­tion­ally, a tech­ni­cal team is slated to visit some of our ar­eas with­out wa­ter over the next few weeks so we can re­assess the plans to bring wa­ter to those ar­eas.

ROADS FOR PROS­PER­ITY

Over the past two decades, the road net­work of South West has sig­nif­i­cantly de­te­ri­o­rated. Almost all of our main thoroughfares are in need of com­plete resur­fac­ing – Pe­dro cross to Black River, Fullers Wood to Moun­tain­side, Moun­tain­side to Knox­wood, Black River to Sandy Ground, Giddy Hall to Prospect, our roads through Trea­sure Beach, Fort Charles and Parot­tee. This is how I have found it, but not how I will leave it.

I thank the min­is­ter of works, Ever­ald Warmin­ing­ton, as we have al­ready brought re­newed hope to a num­ber of com­mu­ni­ties with more slated to ben­e­fit shortly. The Hous­ing, Op­por­tu­nity, Pros­per­ity and Em­ploy­ment pro­gramme has al­ready seen three roads ear­marked for work, with more on the hori­zon.

ED­U­CA­TION FOR PROS­PER­ITY

Ed­u­ca­tion re­mains the only real en­gine for per­sonal and eco­nomic growth. In South West St El­iz­a­beth, we have 43 ear­ly­child­hood in­sti­tu­tions, 17 pri­mary schools, two prep schools and two high schools. I have chan­nelled $6.5mil­lion of my Con­stituency De­vel­op­ment Fund to help stu­dents along their ed­u­ca­tional path and to help schools deal with some of their in­fras­truc­ture needs. With the al­lo­ca­tion, we have been able to in­cen­tivise per­for­mance at the pri­mary level by award­ing the top GSAT boy and girl from each pri­mary school and the top teacher. We have also been able to as­sist with books for over 500 stu­dents and fi­nan­cial sup­port for 70 stu­dents at the ter­tiary level.

I am pay­ing spe­cial at­ten­tion to early-child­hood ed­u­ca­tion. We es­tab­lished the Right from Start Foun­da­tion, and I am ex­cited about the part­ner­ship that has been forged by Do Good Ja­maica and the Breds Foun­da­tion, which aims to bring 14 early-child­hood in­sti­tu­tions to the level of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion with the Early-Child­hood Com­mis­sion over the next year.

South West St El­iz­a­beth will lead the early-child­hood rev­o­lu­tion.

HEALTH FOR PROS­PER­ITY

The Black River Hos­pi­tal re­mains a source of con­cern. Over the time I have been MP, I have been able to sit with the man­age­ment team of the hos­pi­tal and asses the de­vel­op­ment plan. Min­is­ter of Health Dr Christo­pher Tufton has also toured the hos­pi­tal and met with the man­age­ment team. Twen­ty­five beds have been ear­marked to be pro­vided for the hos­pi­tal, and a lift is to be in­stalled. A tem­po­rary out­pa­tient so­lu­tion has been com­pleted and is to be launched shortly, which will pro­vide more space in the Ac­ci­dent and Emer­gency De­part­ment.

ECO­NOMIC AC­TIV­ITY FOR PROS­PER­ITY

When the best farm­ers have the wa­ter and go out to farm, the yield is great, and as such, the prob­lem of suf­fi­cient mar­kets comes into play. As MP, I will drive the push for an in­vest­ment in agro-pro­cess­ing. GraceKennedy has al­ready set the trend with the agro-pro­cess­ing and pack­ag­ing plant at Hun­slow and has done ex­tremely well. I in­vite more com­pa­nies to look in the di­rec­tion of South West St El­iz­a­beth.

We also have the best com­mu­nity tourism prod­uct in the Caribbean. South West is poised to give Ja­maica the ex­pe­ri­en­tial edge for which the mil­len­nial vis­i­tor is search­ing. We aim to be the Mecca of com­mu­nity tourism and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. With the right in­fras­truc­ture and sup­port we will ex­pand that in­dus­try and put our peo­ple to work. We, will re­vive the cap­i­tal through un­der­tak­ing a project of sto­ry­boards look­ing at our rich his­tory. We have al­ready started the dis­cus­sion with the min­is­ter of trans­port to es­tab­lish an aero­drome in South West St El­iz­a­beth, which will di­rectly tie in to our niche mar­ket and our com­mu­nity tourism prod­uct.

GREEN

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