JIS News

Portmore Mayor, Keith Hinds, has expressed gratitude to the Government for the $20-million committed to assist with the cleaning of drains and gullies in the municipality. This, he says, will go a far way in ridding the community of mosquitoes, currently plaguing the residents.
He gave this response in an interview with JIS News, following the announcement of the allocation by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, at the official opening of the Portmore Tax Collectorate on Thursday (August 7).
Delivering the keynote address, Mr. Shaw alluded to the Mayor’s request for $60 million to clean the drains, pointing out that “instead of trying to find some magic, and big, solution in the horizon, let us start with an immediate problem.”
“So, we are going to look at the various areas, whether those areas are in the Waterford, Portsmouth, Dover, (or) other areas, that have serious drainage and mosquito problems,” the Finance Minister proposed. In that regard, he committed $20 million from the Ministry “to assist in the Portmore area to begin the cleaning up process”.
Following the announcement, Mr. Hinds told JIS News that the Council had received $5.5 million, which they used to commence drain cleaning throughout the municipality, represented by 11 Councillors, noting that the undertaking was challenging.
“The truth of the matter is that, it was always going to be an uphill task to clean any drains and gullies with that amount of money, being that Portmore has the largest network of drains in the island,” he pointed out.
Noting that he was due to receive another $8 million from the Department of Local Government, Councillor Hinds said that, initially, he was in a quandary as to how the funds could be maximised to facilitate cleaning of the drains and gullies, based on the level of work involved.
“I was at my wit’s end (as to) what to do with it, (but) when the Minister said he is giving me $20 million, believe me, I am deliriously happy, I will now be able to go home at nights and not dodge from the citizens,” he said elatedly.
Responding to the Finance Minister’s proposal, Portmore resident, Jacqueline Smith St. Clair, who was a special guest at the event, for being the first customer to utilise the collectorate’s services, when the entity opened to the public on July 28, said the gesture was “formidable”.
“I truly think it’s an awesome idea, because (of) the problems we have with mosquitoes where Dengue (fever) is concerned, and other diseases that the mosquito can transmit to others. And I think in doing that, it’s an awesome idea, it’s a very good idea, caan wait, caan wait,” she said emphatically.
While Ms. Smith St. Clair did not think that her action was indicative of a ‘feel good’ attitude towards paying her taxes, she never-the-less, thought it was important for persons to pay their taxes.
“Good is probably a strong word,” she argued, “but I do really want to contribute to my country, we want things to be intact where our roads are concerned, things taxes help to keep up. And, because you want those things to be kept up, it’s really a pleasure paying the tax,” Ms. Smith St. Clair explained.
Another Portmore resident, Junior, a security guard employed to Atlas Protection Limited, also supported Mr. Shaw’s intervention. “I think it’s a good idea that he is going to help out in the situation over Portmore, I support him a hundred per cent,” he said.
In describing the extent of the problem with mosquitoes in Portmore, Junior said, “Well a nuh mosquito dem over here, is some germ warfare, some fly. But we appreciate it (help to eradicate them) still, that’s good”.