JIS News

Scores of volunteers from various organizations within Spanish Town and its environs participated in the 2nd annual clean up and beautification of the town on Saturday and Sunday.
The event was organized by the St. Catherine Parish Council in collaboration with the Social Development Commission (SDC), with the Parish Council and the Jamaica Volunteers Association, INC. (JVA) contributing US$10,000 towards the event.
On Saturday, over 300 persons with T-shirts bearing the slogan ‘Spanish Town Clean Up 2005′, cleaned and painted walls, swept, cleaned drains, removed garbage and grass from street corners and around historical sites in the town.
Congested areas such as the Spanish Town Market, the Adelaide and Young Streets crossings were done on Sunday to avoid disturbing the economic activities in the city. Additionally, over 11 pedestrian crossings were re-painted.
Mayor of Spanish Town, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, told JIS News that the cost of the project was just under $1.2 million. He pointed out that it would have been much higher if private sector entities and individuals had not donated their time and money. “I feel heartened to see that communities can come together and achieve something that is possible. It diminishes the negative perception of Spanish Town and with the recent upsurge in crime, it is good to see something positive happening in Spanish Town,” he said.
After the clean up, the Mayor said the Council would be putting in place a maintenance programme to ensure that the streets and drains are kept clean.
Acting Executive Director of the SDC, Daniel Wilson told JIS News that he hoped the activity would encourage the spirit of volunteerism as well as inspire persons to properly dispose of their garbage. He said the SDC was willing to facilitate similar clean up activities undertaken by other organisations.
“We see our role primarily as one of facilitation, where we engage the various agencies and communities. It takes quite a bit of planning and we play the role as the central coordinating force,” Mr. Wilson said.
President of JVA, Professor Donald Morgan, who toured several areas in the town and participated in the clean-up exercise, said the JVA was happy to contribute to the activity. “We do this because we feel strongly that as Jamaicans, we have an obligation to do something to help those institutions at home that serve the public,” he added. At the same time, he applauded the efforts being made by the Mayor and Councillors to clean the town.
“I think it’s worth the while and I do believe that the city council is trying its best under adverse circumstances. I applaud the efforts of the Mayor and members of the Parish Council for the work they have started today and I hope they will continue. This shouldn’t be just a beginning of the clean up of the city,” he added.
The JVA has made annual contributions to educational and health care institutions, and also to community projects in Jamaica since 1984. The last donation made by the organization was in October 2004 when US$10,000 was handed over to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture to assist in the renovation of four basic schools, which had suffered some loss as a result of Hurricane Ivan.
Other agencies and groups, which participated in the clean up exercise: were the Department of Correctional Service, the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NWA), the Spanish Town Police Division, the National Youth Service, students and citizens’ associations.