Falmouth mayor says ad­min­is­tra­tion has top marks

... But chal­lenger gives fail­ing grade

Jamaica Gleaner - - WESTERN FOCUS - Christo­pher Thomas Gleaner Writer

AS THE Novem­ber 28 date for the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion draws near, the two as­pi­rants for the po­si­tion of coun­cil­lor for the Falmouth di­vi­sion in the Trelawny Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion have pro­vided sharply con­trast­ing views of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion’s work in the parish.

Garth Wilkin­son, chair­man of the Trelawny Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion and cur­rent coun­cil­lor of the Falmouth di­vi­sion, says his ad­min­is­tra­tion has done a praise­wor­thy job in terms of in­fras­truc­tural work dur­ing its time in power.

“We have had a lot of things to be thank­ful for ... we have man­aged the af­fairs of the peo­ple of Trelawny, in that we have done more roads than any other ad­min­is­tra­tion be­fore our time. In terms of in­fra­struc­ture work that has been done, there is the putting in of side­walks in the town of Falmouth ... and I have to ac­knowl­edge the work we did with the Bur­wood Beach, the only pub­lic beach in the parish,” Wilkin­son, who is also the mayor of Falmouth, said.

Wilkin­son also pointed to wa­ter catch­ment re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work done in south Trelawny, the pro­gres­sion of work on the Falmouth Mar­ket, and com­men­da­tions given to the cor­po­ra­tion by Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Des­mond McKen­zie.

“In terms of mi­nor wa­ter sup­ply, we have re­paired and re­fur­bished most of the catch­ment tanks in south Trelawny. Coun­cil­lor Paul Pat­more (an in­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lor in the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion) started a project with a wa­ter treat­ment plant in Lor­rimers, that the coun­cil has en­cour­aged, and we have part­nered with him and made sure to en­hance the work he started up there,” said Wilkin­son.

MAR­KET TO OPEN IN JAN­UARY

“We restarted the mar­ket, which was on the books to be com­pleted be­fore the Falmouth ship­ping port was built; and now we are far ahead in get­ting that mar­ket done, and it is slated for com­ple­tion, based on our pro­jec­tions, by early Jan­uary,” Wilkin­son con­tin­ued. “Min­is­ter McKen­zie came here; we were as­sessed, and we were judged as the best-run parish coun­cil in the is­land. Ev­ery­body has given us a high mark in how we have man­aged our work; we are the most fi­nan­cially pru­dent and dis­ci­plined coun­cil in Ja­maica. The work this ad­min­is­tra­tion has done is sec­ond to none.”

How­ever, Wilkin­son’s re­view was chal­lenged by his Ja­maica

Labour Party (JLP) chal­lenger for the Falmouth di­vi­sion, Court­ney Fowler, who pointed to sev­eral is­sues within the town of Falmouth as proof that the cor­po­ra­tion has fallen short of the mark.

“Be­cause I am an ‘area man’,

I know the whole of the di­vi­sion. The place is in a bad sit­u­a­tion,” Fowler de­clared em­phat­i­cally. “If I come into power (as coun­cil­lor), the drains have to be set up dif­fer­ently be­cause the drains need to be dug deeper so that the wa­ter can travel bet­ter; and the garbage col­lec­tion is not do­ing any­thing much.”

AESTHETIC AP­PEAR­ANCE

Fowler also as­serted that the aesthetic ap­pear­ance of Falmouth is im­pacted by the pres­ence of peo­ple sleep­ing on the streets at night, and the use of an area near the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion build­ing as a toi­let, which he in­sists will neg­a­tively af­fect the town’s tourism prod­uct.

“It is a tourist town, and yet you have too much peo­ple in the square at night-time,” Fowler ar­gued. “Peo­ple are sleep­ing on the pi­azza at night-time and have nowhere to go. The mayor is by­pass­ing those things, but we can’t by­pass those things.”

Fowler con­tin­ued. “At the side of the court­house, there is a lot of fae­ces and peo­ple use it like it is a toi­let. Peo­ple go over there and uri­nate; you can­not have a place like the mayor’s of­fice and the court­house to­gether (on the same build­ing), and those kinds of things go­ing on at the side of the court­house. Falmouth needs a step-up and a help­ing hand by dif­fer­ent peo­ple ... . We in the sys­tem, we have to clean up the dirty wa­ter run­ning in the place so that the tourists can have bet­ter en­joy­ment.”

PHOTO BY CHRISTO­PHER THOMAS

The front of the Trelawny Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion build­ing in Falmouth, Trelawny. The mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion shares the fa­cil­ity with the Trelawny Parish Court.

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