Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, has called on stakeholders in St. Elizabeth to recognise the achievements and development potential of the parish.
“It is important that we recognise the beauty and greatness of the parish. Every modern society requires a development model, which emerges out of some vision,” Dr. Tufton told the St. Elizabeth Homecoming Foundation’s Agriculture Expo on Thursday (November 19) at the Sharon Baptist Church in Santa Cruz.
He suggested that the Foundation and stakeholders ask the question, “what do we want St. Elizabeth to become, or look like, in the next 15-20 years?”
“Some basic data are available to project things like population growth, housing development and types of infrastructure. We know that farming is a mainstay, but other sectors have emerged overtime. Tourism is one of them,” he said.
A section of the audience at the St. Elizabeth Homecoming Foundation’s Agricultural Expo at the Sharon Baptist Church on Thursday (November 19).
He noted that the parish has many natural resources, and their protection is paramount, or run the risk of some of the things that make the parish unique and different, disappearing.
“We have to deliberately set out to protect, to preserve and enhance them, while maintaining the sort of originality that characterises the features,” he emphasised.
He also stressed the need to meet targets for sustained growth and development, and noted that education stood out as most critical in everything that is undertaken.
“We have outstanding schools in this parish; we have institutions like Hampton, one of the best all-female schools in the country, Munro and others. Black River High has done tremendously well as a non-traditional high school. So we have those critical pockets of excellence,” he said.
Dr. Tufton emphasised the need for an increase in the number of persons in the parish entering tertiary institutions.
The St. Elizabeth Homecoming Foundation stages month-long celebrations in November, to highlight the best features and achievements of the parish.