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Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall, has called on residents of Portland, to unite in advancing the development process in the parish.
The Governor-General, who was addressing a gathering of civic and community leaders at the Ken Wright Pier in Port Antonio on Tuesday (May 2), urged the residents to use the time-honoured structures within the parish to bolster development, as they strove to move Portland and Jamaica into the 21st Century.
He observed that Portland represented a significant part of the past and the future of Jamaica, adding that the history of the maroons, its old world charm and laid back tourism atmosphere, along with the development of the banana trade and tourism, had all combined to create a rich and colourful tapestry for the parish.
Professor Hall added that much had been written about the outstanding features of the parish, including the Folly Estate, Boston jerk pork, which has become a staple delicacy for Jamaicans and visitors alike and the exploits of famous actor Errol Flynn, who introduced the concept of rafting on the Rio Grande River.
Turning to development initiatives over the years, the Governor-General said the citizens of Portland have benefited from projects in tourism, agriculture, road construction, electricity, water and telephone services, noting that the Portland Development Plan, formulated in 1989 to revitalise the town of Port Antonio, had fostered the development of the west harbour.
He pointed out however, that despite the achievements, there was room for improvements, as the parish grappled with the challenges of providing appropriate social amenities, as well as new economic opportunities for its population.
The Governor-General further thanked the people of Portland for the warm welcome they extended to him during his first official visit to the parish.
Among those in attendance were: Custos of Portland, Roy Thompson; Mayor of Port Antonio Councillor Rupert Kelly; Member of Parliament for Western Portland, and State Minister for Agriculture and Land, Errol Ennis, justices of the peace and representatives of government and non-government organizations.
Portland was the Governor-General’s sixth stop on his islandwide familiarization tour, which began on April 26 in his home parish of Hanover. He has already visited Westmoreland, St. James, Trelawny and St. Thomas and during this week will visit Black River, St. Elizabeth; and May Pen, Clarendon.