JIS News

Portmore’s Better Neighbourhood Programme is being hailed a success, with residents and private sector coming together on a number of greening projects, which have virtually transformed the municipality.
According to Mayor of Portmore, George Lee, when the project was launched a year and a half ago, Portmore was a bare, dry place with little green areas and residents frequently complained of respiratory problems.
“Dealing with the environment became a number one priority and that’s why I launched the Better Neighbourhood Programme”, he told JIS News.
With residents and private sector interests coming together in partnership, seven parks have been built, with the latest one to be opened in Cumberland on April 27, and a number of problem areas have been cleaned and beautified.
In addition, residents were encouraged to keep their communities clean and to plant trees, and a Better Neighbourhood competition has been launched, which offers lucrative cash prizes to the top communities. “The communities will be judged on beautification, how they keep their parks, civic awareness and community responsibility,” Mayor Lee said.
The winners will be announced at the park opening and prizes will also be awarded.
Meanwhile, Mayor Lee informed that four or five more parks would be built and trees planted before the end of the year and funds were being sourced for a major park, “not as big and extensive as Emancipation Park in Kingston, “but something along the line of which the municipality can be proud”.
“It’s something that will have to be debated but right now, we’re looking at about three areas and estimate it to be a 20-acre park, but before that can be decided, it has to go through a serious and lengthy period of debate,” he told JIS News.
He thanked the private sector sponsors of the park projects. “We are currently in discussion with two other companies to adopt two other parks, so I would say we’ve done pretty well and if all goes well over the next year, residents will see a virtual explosion of park development and landscaping in the municipality,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Mayor Lee said that the Sidewalk Development Project, which was instituted some three months ago to build and repair sidewalks in the municipality, “will be an ongoing feature of the Council and is an attempt to address the lack of this facility in a number of areas. So every month in the foreseeable future, this project will be continuing.”