Tufton, a man of action
I note with tremendous interest and consternation the assertions made by Hugh Buchanan, who successfully challenged for the SW St Elizabeth seat, which I formerly held for the Jamaica Labour Party, in your Sunday Observer (February 2, 2014).
Buchanan gained victory in one of the closest electoral contests in our history. He is the people's representative in Parliament, and it is my hope that during his tenure he will discharge his responsibilities to the people in a manner that will be honourable.
It is, however, rather unbecoming of him to make statements as baseless as those attributed to him in the articles. The issues highlighted in support of his claims as the saviour of the constituency can easily be taken apart.
Regarding the Hounslow Agro Park, and the facility operated by Grace:
The previous MP refurbished the small facility and installed a new farmers-training facility under the control of National Irrigation Commission. There is a new packaging house operated by GraceKennedy and a new pepper mash facility.
Contrary to Buchanan's claims, Tufton has left a legacy of integrating farmers' efforts into value-added agro-processing. The agro park concept, of which Hounslow is the first, was created by Tufton during his tenure as minister of agriculture, but is now being used by the current Government as if it were their own.
Buchanan has made much mention of the Black River market saying it should not have been torn down. The truth is that the facility was in a terrible state. Buchanan's father, before him, talked about it for 18 years and said he was going to build a new one. Tufton came in and, in four years, constructed the first phase of a brand new facility. The young Buchanan has been there for two years and nothing more has been done.
Fisherfolk in Great Bay, Calabash Bay, Parrottee, Black River, and Galleon Beach all had their conveniences (bathrooms or storage facilities) on their respective beaches refurbished or built totally new, the most spent on fishing infrastructure in any administration.
Tufton also oversaw the National Irrigation Commission's expansion to communities like Beacon so farmers could get water for their crops.
Three brand new basic schools were built in the community of Slipe. Black River Primary School receied a new 40-computer lab, and Tuftom supported hundreds of students with back-to-school and medical needs.
For other infrastructure, new roads have been laid in communities like Greenfield, Slipe, Cragie, Parrottee, Holland, White Hall, Beacon, Galleon, Barbary Hall, and Vineyard. There have also been sponsored annual competitions for the communities in dominoes, football, cricket, basketball, and talent search. Tufton also supported the HAJ for new low-income housing development in Luana.
Buchanan is treading a well-worn path for Jamaican politicians. By his own claim, he inherited "an organisation that knew how to win elections". Let him list his accomplishments.
Micheal G Bernard
SW St Elizabeth