JIS News

The refurbishing of the Gray’s Charity building in Port Maria, St. Mary, which is part of the Fort Haldane heritage site, has been chosen as the parish project for Labour Day 2007.
Secretary Manager of the St. Mary Parish Council, Kerry Chambers, told JIS News that the historic site was chosen as the parish project in keeping with the Labour Day theme of ‘Honouring our ancestors.Strengthening Communities’.
The scope of work to be undertaken will include repairing roof and other structural damage, bushing and clearing the compound, and painting the building. According to Miss Chambers, the refurbishing of the building, which was damaged during Hurricane Ivan in 2004, will return the facility to its former glory and it will once again serve as a reaction centre for senior citizens of the parish.
Fort Haldane, which was built for coastal defence in 1759 during the Seven Years’ War, was named for General George Haldane, then Governor of Jamaica. In 1872, the fort was sold to the merchant John William Gray, and he directed that 500 pounds be paid to the government for the establishment of a place for the exclusive benefit of the poor in the parish. After Hurricane Allen in 1980, some victims were housed in this building.
The site, which still has a few things remaining of the fort, including two complete and three incomplete cannons, has been declared a heritage site by the National Heritage Trust.
In addition to the parish project, Miss Chambers said that nine other projects have so far been registered with the St. Mary Labour Day Committee.
These include the building of bus sheds, refurbishing of post offices, cleaning of drains, beautification of communities and the painting of community centres.The communities of Clonmel, Mile Gully, Dressikie, Wallenford, Woodside and Dean Pen are among those that have registered projects and Miss Chambers expressed confidence that other communities and organizations will come forward as soon as plans are finalized.Labour Day 2007 will be observed on May 23.

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