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Initiatives being undertaken by government towards the sustainable development of Portland were recently outlined to residents and other stakeholders by Minister with responsibility for Information and Member of Parliament for Western Portland, Hon. Daryl Vaz.
Speaking at the function held on Tuesday (February 16) at the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), Mr. Vaz stated that the government is fully committed to putting programmes and policies in place to support the economic development of the parish, including measures to maximize the contribution of tourism and agriculture.
He told residents that the recently completed Northern Coastal Highway is expected to provide a major impetus to the tourism sector, while efforts are being made to facilitate more regular flights to the Ken Jones Aerodrome.
Noting the importance of the road network to the development of the parish, Mr. Vaz said government will be embarking on a programme aimed at improving the condition of parochial roads and conducting river training work to address the high incidence of flooding. The programme will be funded from the US$400 million secured by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, on his recent visit to the People’s Republic of China.
As it relates to developments in his Western Portland constituency, Mr. Vaz stated that all minor water systems in that area have been improved, adding that significant upgrading has also been done by the National Water Commission (NWC) to its supply systems, while the National Works Agency (NWA) has carried out repair works on a number of roadways.
He informed that the implementation of the Harbour View to Port Antonio road project is being actively planned.
Mentioning the rehabilitation of the Hope Bay Fishing Village to enhance the fishing enterprise in that town, he said similar work is being done to the Buff Bay Fishing Village.
Other developments include the provision of more appropriate facilities for the Hope Bay Police, and the installation of lights at the Lynch Park Sporting Complex in Buff Bay to facilitate sporting activities at nights. Mr. Vaz told residents that “serious thought is being given to the possibility of making Lynch Park into a total development complex with facilities to help mould the lives of young people and direct them on a path of progress and success”.
In the meantime, he informed that an audit will be conducted on all NLA-owned lands in the parish, with a view to putting idle lands to productive use.
The forum was organised by the Department of Local Government as part of its island-wide series of ‘One Day Visioning Symposia on Local Jurisdiction in Jamaica’.
Being held under the theme: ‘My community, our parish, one Jamaica – my vision’, the objective of the series is to forge a vision for the development of each parish.
Among the targeted objectives is the commencement of the preparation of a 20-year local sustainable development plan for each parish, with strong input from all stakeholders, including community groups.