JIS News

An alliance between the Portland Parish Council and the City Council of Inglewood in California, United States, which has recently been resuscitated by the local council, is expected to bring about marked improvements in the development of the parish.
A Proclamation of Friendship was initially signed more than ten years ago, in April 1991, between the City Council of Inglewood and the Portland Parish Council with a view to boost investment opportunities for Portland as well as provide the parish council’s staff with working experience abroad. However, the alliance became idle in 1995.
Not content to have the relationship remain inactive for much longer, the parish council is reestablishing its linkages with the Californian city.
To that end, a three-person delegation led by Councilman for the Inglewood City Council, Curren Price, is currently in the island for a weeklong visit to strengthen the partnership between the two cities.
On Monday, Councilman Price had a briefing session with Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller where she briefed him on the responsibilities of the Ministry and other matters such as solid waste management, local government reform and maintenance of infirmaries, which fall under her purview. Minister Simpson Miller said she was confident that the reestablished partnership between the cities could have positive, long-term benefits.
She said that in discussion with the Councilman, “he came with a number of issues that he would like to deal with, such as how they can market and promote the Port Antonio Marina.”
Minister Simpson Miller divulged that she asked Councilman Price to render any aid he could to the local government reform programme.
Making reference to the reform programme, Mrs. Simpson Miller said: “It’s a process, and as we go along, any assistance that can be given, whether looking at best practices or other models, can help in strengthening the local authorities.”
Speaking with JIS News, Councilman Price said he visited the island to “reaffirm our sister city relationship with Portland.”
He pointed out that despite the fact he was not elected to his present office at the time of the signing of the Proclamation of Friendship, he was informed that a number of achievements were realized during the early years of the sister city relationship. At the outset, he said, there was a flurry of activities. These activities included a one-month cultural exchange programme for students from Port Antonio to visit Inglewood and students from Inglewood to visit the eastern parish.
Councilman Price told JIS News that arising from the sister city relationship, a group of elected officials from Port Antonio were hosted in Inglewood and a group of businesspeople travelled here to see the possibilities for business ventures.
He added that a 12-metre container of books and medical supplies were also sent to the parish.
As for his expectations of the renewed alliance, he said: “We are looking to work collaboratively with the administrative staff at the parish council and providing technical assistance in the areas of planning and land use, economic development and solid waste management. We look forward to sharing our experiences in a way that hopefully can provide some direct assistance that can improve the work of the Portland parish council.”
Mayor of Portland, Alston Hunter, who also attended the briefing session, said he was looking forward to a working relationship with the Inglewood City Council that would focus on technical and cultural areas.
Mayor Hunter said he envisaged Portland or Jamaica, helping Inglewood culturally by “having carnivals such as the Notting Hill Carnival in England, which is by and large, a West Indian-organized event, and they in return can give technical help.”
“We are also looking at economic areas such as their City Council bringing investors here which is very good,” he noted.
“They are also going to be helping us plan a way forward in that they will assist us in creating more ambiance in the town of Port Antonio,” he said.
Councilman Price’s itinerary includes scheduled meetings with the staff of the Portland Parish Council, the Parish Development Committee and other interests within the parish. He will also be given a tour of a number of natural attractions on the eastern coast. He is expected to leave the island on Sunday, February 22.

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