Falmouth — lopsided development

Falmouth — lopsided development

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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Dear Editor,

As the town of Falmouth prepares to celebrate its 250th year of existence my heart bleeds for the lack of transformational strategies to lift the common Falmouthian from poverty to a prosperous life.

Historically, Falmouth has been known to be a town of the “well to do”, and at one time was said to have more millionaires living there than the city of New York in the United States. During that time the common man's voice was crying out, his eyes peeping from behind the mangroves, for a better quality of life, all while the rich planters and large entrepreneurs plundered the resources of the parish and lived lavish lifestyles both locally and abroad.

It is often said that “as it was in the beginning so shall it be in the end,” and today descendants of all those who were crying and peeping from behind the mangroves for a better quality of life are stretching out their beleaguered palms to the powers that be for a better quality of life and an opportunity to have at least a hope for a piece of the pie.

Falmouth is being projected as the place do business and invest — and rightfully so — but the anomaly between the ability of the common indigenous Falmouthian and the moneyed class that has been descending on Falmouth is ever widening. Their very existence is threatened by the scant regard for the environment, wages, health, and how they are governed both at the national and local levels.

After 250 years, a town that had electricity and water before the city of New York, still has to be paddling through unkempt drains, with sewage and other effluent covering the thoroughfares. There is the stench of urine at every street corner, and the fight between vehicular traffic and pedestrians for public space on the roadway is getting would adversarial. Most business places, especially the supermarkets, are fire traps and are unfriendly to our disabled community. The town is losing its Georgian face and façade for reasons best know to the mayor, his department of planning, and councillors. The local municipal corporation has lost its ability to govern and to make Falmouth friendly for visitors and locals alike.

The People's National Party has ruled the constituency in which the town is located for the last 30 years, and it is an indictment on them for the lack of transformational leadership to lift the hope and aspirations of the common Falmouthian.

The Jamaica Labour Party, as Government, and as the party that ruled the constituency during its formative years, is equally to be blamed, as it should have laid the foundation of equity in development to give the locals a fighting chance; instead, it was complicit with those with class, money, and power to dwarf the opportunities of the common Falmouthians.

We are seeing that so plainly today. With all of the billions of dollars in investments being made — some of which comes from the pockets of local taxpayers — the average person living in the town or its environs is yet to see the associated economic benefits. They, then, often leave the town to relocate to neighbouring Ocho Rios and Montego Bay.

Economic development must be inclusive and must not be centred on the exclusive class. For any economic model to be successful, whether here in Falmouth or anywhere else, the people must be one of the rungs of the ladder that we as a people must all climb.

 

Fernandez Smith

Former Jamaica Labour Councillor

fgeesmith@yahoo.com


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