JIS News

Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sports, Portia Simpson Miller has said that western Jamaica, particularly Montego Bay, would not be able to sustain the development and growth now taking place in that part of the country, unless ways are found to bridge the gap between those who have and those in need.
“Unless we find a way to bridge the divide between the two Jamaicas, unless we help to make life more tolerable for the people in the inner city communities, and those marginalized by poverty, inadequate education and under-employment, we will not be able to sustain that development and growth,” she said.
The Minister was giving the keynote address at the official re-naming of the St. James Parish Council building to the Cecil Hugh Donaldson Municipal Building, in honour of the former Mayor of Montego Bay, on October 5.
Speaking against the background of the 25th anniversary celebration of Montego Bay being granted city status, the Minister outlined the numerous developments that had taken place in the city over the years, but also pointed to the level of poverty that existed. She cited the 17 “inner city communities” that existed within Montego Bay, describing the situation as “a stunning contrast of wealth and poverty and underdevelopment in the midst of development”.
She stressed that there was both a pragmatic and humanitarian reason why attention must be paid to the cries of the inner city communities.
“A pragmatic reason is that if we are to sustain our tourist industry and the paradise that we market abroad .as well as the diversification of business activities in this city, we have to look after those on the margin. We have to give them a sense that they too have a stake in all of this development,” she added.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said that the biggest challenge for 21st Century Jamaica was how to build the emotional capital of the marginalized and the poor, to the level where they would want to meaningfully participate in civil society. She said that another challenge was how to make the marginalized have a sense that they are stakeholders, and how to ignite the passion in them to participate in a common vision.
Mr. Donaldson, in whose honour the municipal building was re-named, served as Chairman of the St. James Parish Council and Mayor of Montego Bay from 1966 to 1969 and 1975 to 1981.

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