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Trelawny Municipal Corporation must take the lead in parish development

By Fernandez Smith

Thursday, May 18, 2017

For decades the local authority of the parish of Trelawny has been playing a catch-up game with the development of the parish.

In fact, chairmen of the local authority have consistently centred their development policies around the town of Falmouth.

With the exception of the late Osmond 'Ossie' Hillock — the only technocrat to have chaired the local authority — all the others, from Uriah Rowe to Joseph Wright, to Fred Bartley and Colin Gager, have insularly concentrated on drain cleaning, garbage collection, vendor compliance and market activities as the basic trajectory of policy direction.

The role of the local authority in the development of the parish has long passed those basic policy operatives.

What the people of Trelawny want to see is a policy direction that involves social intervention, infrastructural development, rural township renewal, participatory development and governance, income generation, asset management (including real estate), human resource development (including councillors), and rural water and cemeteries.

The afore mentioned is the basic outline of what a sustainable development policy should cover over the short-medium-and long-term period.

It is incumbent on the political directorate to position itself as the core and cornerstone from which the Trelawny public will have the confidence that their quality of life will improve.

After all, the political directorate is solely in charge of policy direction and in charge of the government that is closest to the people.

A close look at the present composition of the nine councillors at the Jamaica Labour Party-controlled-Trelawny Municipal Corporation shows that it is not for the want of experience why the corporation is failing to offer the leadership required for the development of the parish.

Chairman Gager, Donovan White, Jonathan Bartley, Philip Service and Garth Wilkinson have collectively served the corporation for almost 70 years.

So what is the problem? Could it be a lack of capacity, vision, and the ability to plan and execute?

A powerful arm of policy enhancement is the tabling of resolutions to enhance policy and development directions.

But from records in the corporation, only one councillor, Phillip Service, has come forward with a resolution to enhance policy and development for the parish.

Some councillors across the political divide have not moved an appropriate resolution to improve governance and representation. The situation is further exacerbated by councillors failing to present a development plan for their respective divisions.

Former bustling rural communities such as Clark's Town, Wakefield, Jackson Town, Warsop, and Lorrimers, among others, have been seeing rapid decay in terms of small business, urban drift, poverty, and unemployment, because of a lack of intervention of the corporation and councillors.

Central government believes in trickle-down economics, and for the quality of life of the people to be effectively addressed, the corporation, not central government, has to take the lead in all aspects of the people's lives.


Fenandez 'Bingy' Smith is a former Jamaica Labour Party councillor for the Sherwood Content Division in Trelawny.