Gleaner’s Special Editor’s Forum
The second in the series of Special Editor’s Forums, launched by the Gleaner at Municipal Corporations across Jamaica, was held at the Social Development Commission’s Complex, 1 Port Henderson Road on Monday, February 27, 2017. The forum is geared towards sustaining the Ministry of Local Government’s mandate for Councillors to perform at the highest level supporting Growth and Development.
Chairman of the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation, and Mayor of Spanish Town, Councillor Norman Scott, hosted the team from the Gleaner. Present also were Parish Councillors, representatives from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, St. Catherine (North) Division, Fire Services, Jamaica Public Service Company, Parish Development Committee, the Ministers’ Fraternal among other public and private entities.
The Mayor said the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation is always open for business and is in a state of complete readiness as it relates to growth and development for the parish, going forward. Amid the projects underway and to come on stream are the erecting of a new public cemetery, standardizing of the operational procedures of markets, major housing developments especially in Old Harbour, Heritage Tourism for Spanish Town and of course extensive road rehabilitation in some towns and rural sections of the parish.
Mayor Scott said he is however dissatisfied with the efforts of the Ministry of Local Government in making resources available in order that some of these projects can get off the ground. According to him, this corporation took the initiative to incorporate the entire citizenry of the parish, including the challenged communities of Spanish Town. He stated that Central Authority needs to work with the Local Authority for true growth and development to be realized.
He was keen to point out the Local Sustainable Development Plan (LSDP) which was initiated by this Corporation over two years ago. He said the framework is designed to assist this and other Local Municipal Corporations and communities to foster sustainable development for communities and the parish through citizens’ participation right across Jamaica. Copies of the Plan are available online.
On the issue of crime and its effect on the parish, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Hector Cummings of the St. Catherine North Division, said the impact of crime especially in the Spanish Town District is truly a matter of concern, and persons within communities believe the Police can do more. However, there has been some reduction due to several initiatives that have been put in place some of which are in fact working. He added that there is a fear of crime within the communities, nonetheless, through the police’s community efforts; this fear is also on the decline.
The forum concluded on the shared agreement that for growth and development to be realized in the parish of St. Catherine, there must be a collaborative and unified approach. All the parties involved, including the citizens and stakeholders must buy-in to the concept of making it happen by providing full support and participation.