KINGSTON, Jamaica, July 29, 2021 - The People’s National Party (PNP) is expressing concern that the apparent rush by the Andrew Holness administration to name Portmore as the 15th parish of Jamaica is primarily political rather than substantive.
A statement from the PNP said although Portmore has grown significantly over the past several years, the proposal by the Holness Administration is premature, lacks justification and appears as though the motivation behind this initiative is political.
The People’s National Party is advising residents of Portmore that statements by the government which suggest gaining parish status is likely to fastrack infrastructural development are deceptive. There are legislative requirements for parishes that Portmore does not currently meet, and there must be wide consultation to determine whether parish status is truly a priority for residents or if it is a priority for politicians.
The PNP contends a simple change of status will not automatically eradicate the challenges facing Portmore and the municipality's citizens. It is important to note that Portmore currently lacks many of the facilities that it needs to function effectively as a community. Many of these issues are far more urgent, in our estimation, than a title change.
The population density of Portmore far outweighs its existing carrying capacity. This has negative repercussions on the environment and the health of its residents. Many residents have to leave Portmore in order to access essential services.
The PNP said "community members have been calling for the construction of a public hospital, additional police and fire stations, and for sufficient land space to be identified and allocated for a public cemetery and other critical facilities. The PNP believes strongly that these facilities must be instituted before serious consideration for parish status is contemplated."
Instead of rushing to make Portmore a parish for political reasons, the PNP is advising the government to consider the following:
- Establish a Development Order for the parish of St Catherine that sets out and prioritizes the development of Portmore
- Review the Protected and Endangered Species Legislation and Regulations with respect to the Jamaican Iguana,the Jamaican Crocodile and other protected species
- Restore and Protect the Half Moon Bay and the Flashes
- Establish a Marine Park in St. Catherine
- Conduct a Carrying Capacity Study of Portmore’s Drainage systems and Educational Facilities
- Establish Green Zones and Entertainment Zones within Portmore.
“We use this opportunity to call on the government to immediately embark on a genuine process of participation and consultation. The broadest cross section of Portmore residents need to be included in a process to determine the best path forward for the development of Portmore and St Catherine on a whole,” the PNP said.