Ferguson to St Thomas people: You have nothing to be ashamed of

Ferguson to St Thomas people: You have nothing to be ashamed of

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT
Senior staff reporter
hibbertk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, February 02, 2020

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MEMBER of Parliament (MP) for St Thomas Eastern Dr Fenton Ferguson has assured members of his constituency that they “have nothing to be ashamed of” when it comes to patriotism for their parish.

His comments were made to over 50 senior citizens attending a long service award ceremony in Prospect, St Thomas last week and were in direct response to frequent criticisms made in the public domain that St Thomas lacks development, is poor, and forgotten.

To further address the common decree, Dr Ferguson took the seniors on a trip down memory lane reminding them of the various developments that St Thomas has seen over the 27 years he has served as MP.

“Many ask what have we done over the years, but I ask the question – was there a Paul Bogle High School before 1993? Was there a Plantain Garden River Bridge before 1993? Was there a new bridge, one could argue, between St Thomas and Portland and another new bridge on the Ken Jones Highway, new bridge in Port Morant, New Bridge in Pear Tree River, Bath within Plantain Gardens? We ask those questions and we could ask the question about many many basic schools. We could ask the question about community centres, we could ask the question about roads, we could ask the question about water supply, we could ask the question about electricity right across the constituency,” Dr Ferguson said.

While recounting development in the parish that he said took place under his watch, Dr Ferguson, who will be seeking a seventh term as MP in the next general election, also emphasised the focus on human capital, which he said had increased over the last two decades.

“When I became MP we could count on one hand the number of medical doctors, the number of lawyers coming out of this constituency. Today we have lost count. Now, the number of nurses, agriculturalists – we have lost count...business persons, we have lost count. Any politician who spends your time and gives priority to human capital development, education and training, must be the kind of leader that you, Jamaica, and the world – in the context of what the world demands now, being a knowledge society – really want,” Dr Ferguson said.

Further, the St Thomas Eastern maverick continued his journey down memory lane by highlighting a number of pending projects in St Thomas Eastern which he said were started under the People's National Party (PNP) Administration and he is committed to seeing them completed.

“Comrade leader you have been part of the journey in terms of maintaining the macro-economic stability of your country during 2012 and 2016,” Dr Ferguson said to Leader of the Opposition, Dr Peter Phillips who also attended the ceremony. “One of the things that happened on your watch and Portia Simpson Miller's watch would have been the Southern Coastal Highway. In fact we had the feasibility study signing at Whisper in Bamboo – US$384 million and therefore we can't come this far when we are on the cusp of the start up of this project for someone else to reside over it, especially in Eastern St Thomas.”

Not relenting, Dr Ferguson continued to list other developments, new and ongoing in the parish, while taking jabs at the Government.

“They have promised now an urban centre to be built at the old Goodyear site. We not pleased. The Rudolph Elder Park – our goal and ambition is to make that our Emancipation Park in St Thomas and we have started the process and we must finish that process.

“The other big thing on the agenda for St Thomas is a draft tourism plan of which I also participated in the draft document. Tourism for us with the fallout in agriculture would definitely be a big thing and it's a different kind of tourism – eco-heritage, sports, spiritual, all a real niche market for us. That is something we have a great interest in,” he said.

Dr Ferguson continued: “Therefore as we ponder the fate of the sugar factory and its closure and those many workers now who are out of a job, whether it is harvesters, whether it is cane cutters, whether it is the factory workers, the business people who are suffering now... the school and children's education impacted. We have to have steady hands going forward in dealing with this. Every time the Labour Party comes to Government something close in St Thomas. You remember Eastern Bananas? Ladies and gentlemen and Comrades we still have some work to do and where we are now?”

The St Thomas Eastern MP made additional reference to the Isaac Barrant Health Centre in St Thomas and renovations made to the accident and emergency department at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Morant Bay, which he said were modern state-of-the-art retrofitting that makes both institutions enviable.

“Though we have problems at the hospital, I was there Sunday and the amount of persons who came to me and said Dr Ferguson, thank you for fixing up the hospital. Go out and look at the hospital, it is the most modern accident and emergency area in any hospital across the country. The first state-of-the-art X-ray machine, first came to Princess Margaret. We have spent close to $20 million between structure and equipment ... that is why it is important we come together,” he said.

Dr Ferguson also spoke of road works and housing for his constituency members.

“During my tenure with roads you remember well all those roads we fixed with all those people talking about St Thomas road. We had one of the best networks of roads during that period. Housing for sugar workers – I was the first Member of Parliament to give housing. What we had was barracks, now we have Hampton Court, we have Stokes Hall, we have Duckenfield, so we have nothing to be ashamed of, “ he said.

Nevertheless, he appealed to the seniors in attendance to ensure they do their part in educating younger generations about the Party's work.

“We must stand and tell the story because we have done much,” he said.


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