It’s been a while, a while since I have posted a blog and a while since anything has happened that excites us so much.
Recently Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, announced plans to erect an urban centre in the parish of St. Thomas, which is to be spearheaded by the Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ). As most of my readers would already know, I am an avid writer on matters which affect me and my fellow parishioners as seen in my previous blogs: The Fate of the Forgotten, Highway Fever Tek Over Jamaica and The Election Saga.
As honest as I have been in my previous postings, I will replicate that sincerity here. At first, I was irritated by the news that an announcement so great and so important to the East was done in the almost Western end of the island. However, I eventually overcame that frustration. Just before I go in on the plans and possibly ‘meticulously scrutinize‘ them to the core, let me reflect on where the parish of St. Thomas is coming from and if possible, revise on how badly it is in need of attention.
Eastern St. Thomas (the constituency to which I belong) has had one member of parliament for the past two and a half decades; 24 years to be exact. It is also important to note that this is my entire lifetime. Therefore, all the things I have seen are all I have known. However, through parents and other elderly persons interviewed, I understood that there was actually a time when St. Thomas was a productive parish, especially in my constituency. This is mainly due to its post-slavery sugarcane production and the Goodyear Factory, which at that time produced tyres at the best quality. Both productions brought great attention to the parish, which provided the residence with what was important, employment. Ever since the above-mentioned ‘attractions‘ have been discontinued; sugarcane production to some extent, the residents of St. Thomas have been trying to remind various governing bodies that people still reside here. After decades of crying out, a potential answer has finally come just when our tears were about to run dry. It is however necessary to note that the ‘citizens‘ of St. Thomas are not newbies to plans and policies especially promises. We have been dished those every time we are reminded that we are not the ‘Republic of St. Thomas‘, which is usually around election time.
The Factories Corporation of Jamaica said in a press release on June 6, 2017 that “the old Goodyear Factory in St. Thomas is to be converted into an Urban Centre for the town of Morant Bay.” The layout of the newly proposed development dubbed the Morant Bay Urban Centre was also made visual in a video posted on Factories Corporation of Jamaica official Facebook page and on their website. I am not easily excited, especially when it comes to promises because I have been met with disappointment far too many times to take it for granted, but this news met my delight. It is like after labouring very hard then finally seeing the fruits thereof. I could take personal commendation for propelling change in the parish where I have called home my entire life, but I will credit it to a collective cry from the Paul Bogle spirited people. This is, however, not a call for retreat but a bid to press forward. We have witnessed first-hand how consistency has effected great changes in the atmosphere that even politicians hear us.
Let us all be witnesses over the next twelve months as it is expected that evidence of these plans will be made fruitful.
In concluding, my personal request is to see this new development benefit the St. Thomas parishioners economically. There is an unemployed personnel for every professional level living in St. Thomas. Please let these residents be, without bias, considered for the new jobs to be created. Thank you.