Green lashes PNP over Middle Quarters shrimp vendors

BY GARFIELD MYERS Editor-at-Large South Central Bureau

Saturday, April 25, 2015

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SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) representative for South West St Elizabeth Floyd Green has lashed the ruling People's National Party (PNP) for failing to implement a development plan for shrimp vendors in Middle Quarters.

Addressing a recent fund-raising dinner at Luana in the Brompton Division of South West St Elizabeth, Green said it was shameful that the Government had not implemented the plan which he said was created during the previous JLP administration (2007-2011).

"When you think about the time that was spent during the last administration to put in a development plan for Middle Quarters and since the Government has changed, nothing has happened to improve the lives of the vendors in Middle Quarters," Green said.

Back in 2009, then Member of Parliament for South West St Elizabeth and Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Dr Christopher Tufton announced that preliminary design work had started for a $40-million complex to accommodate shrimp vendors in Middle Quarters.

Tufton was reported then as saying that the project was slated to start in 2010 with funding "secured" from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). However, it never got off the ground. Tufton subsequently lost South West St Elizabeth by 13 votes to current MP Hugh Buchanan in the general election of December 2011 as the JLP lost power to the PNP.

Green told Labourites at the fund-raising dinner, including party leader Andrew Holness, that shrimp vendors in Middle Quarters were "not asking for handouts, not asking to come to your (MP's) office and get a little money. They are asking for proper facilities to be put in place so they can do what they have been doing for years".

He noted that "even without the proper facilities we see the tourist bus coming there ... can you imagine how Middle Quarters would blossom if we had better facilities?" He argued that it was "full time" for the Tourism Enhancement Fund to outline "a programme of work for Middle Quarters".

Middle Quarters is routinely considered a leading region for the sale of pepper shrimp in Jamaica.

Pointing to the Government's decision to spend heavily on upgrade works in Kingston for the recent visit of US President Barack Obama when there were important roads in SW St Elizabeth and elsewhere in rural Jamaica that were barely drivable, Green said it reflected a failure of governance and "with setting priorities in this country".

He identified the road to the popular attraction YS Falls as a classic example.

"You can barely make it past five miles an hour and the tourists come still, and you won't fix the roads to get more tourists to come in there but you are willing repave the entire Heroes Circle, that's a problem," Green said.

A large part of the problem, Green claimed, was that MP Buchanan had failed to make proper representation for the constituency.

The JLP caretaker reminded Labourites that St Elizabeth South West had the extraordinary record of always being won by the party which forms government after parliamentary elections.

"I am not surprised that the leader (Holness) is here, not surprised at all, because the leader studies history and the leader knows wherever South West St Elizabeth goes, the future of Jamaica goes," Green said.

He praised the divisional caretaker Whitney Smith for organising the fund-raising dinner and for the visionary leadership she had shown for Labourites in Brompton.

The division, long considered a PNP stronghold in South West St Elizabeth, is currently held by the PNP's Sandra Whyte.

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