St Ann councillors upset at exclusion from choosing parish's Labour day Project

By Renae Dixon Observer staff reporter

Monday, May 12, 2014    

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Members of the St Ann Parish Council have expressed dissatisfaction with the way this year's Labour Day project for the parish was chosen.

The councillors said they feel slighted that they were bypassed and not included in the process to select the Bamboo Police Station as the parish project.

Councillor for the Bensonton Division Lydia Richards expressed concerns that the project was selected by persons in Kingston without any consultation with the local governing body.

Chairman of the Council and Mayor of St Ann's Bay Desmond Gilmore pointed out to the councillors that the choosing of projects for Labour Day no longer falls under the umbrella of the Ministry of Local Government, but is now with the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

The councillors, however, said they should have been consulted on the matter.

"We should have been asked because we are the local authority," Richards insisted.

"This is taking the power from us. We know the parish better than anybody else," Gilbert McLeod, councillor for the Alexandria division said.

While admitting that they did not disagree with the project the councillors are insistent that their input should have been sought in the matter.

"Is it that we are bypassing the Parish Council?" councillor for the Claremont division Lambert Weir questioned.

Councillor Richards said the issue was not with the project which was selected since they might have also selected the police station but the fact that they were totally ignored in the decision making process.

A list with all the parish projects across the island was reportedly sent to the different councils from the Ministry of Youth and Culture.

Senior Superintendent of Police Yvonne Martin Daley told the Council she was contacted and asked which police station needed more attention. She said she identified the Bamboo Police Station but did not know until recently that the station was selected as the parish project. She however pointed out that the facility was in need of urgent attention.

She said the police station should have been relocated but that that has not happened and so it should be fixed to make it more comfortable for the police personnel.

The mayor said the St Ann Council will also be partnering with several agencies to carry out much-needed work at the Ocho Rios bus park on Labour Day.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Youth and Culture in launching Workers Week and Labour Day 2014 encouraged Jamaicans to uplift communities on Labour Day which will be staged this year under the theme, 'Take a stand... Beautify our Land'.

The National Labour Day project will be the Climate Change Park, in Portmore, St Catherine.

Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna, who addressed the launch at Jamaica House last week, emphasised that it is crucial that all Jamaicans make an impact in protecting the natural resources.

"So, if you have environmental issues in your communities, let us get out there and address them. Let us not use Labour Day, as a time of rest, use it as a time of work to galvanise the best of who we are," the minister said.

Hanna also encouraged persons to avail themselves for other projects in their communities.

There will also be a focus on beautifying police stations and posts across the island.

Parish Councils and the Social Development Commission (SDC) will be facilitating the registration of projects at the parish level, and their personnel will also be actively involved on the day with the various work activities in the communities.

"These entities will also be very active in mobilising the community members to volunteer and participate in the projects, which will see communities working with the security forces to beautify various police stations and posts," according to Minister of Local Government and Community Development Noel Arscott.





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