New western MPs to target water, roads, economic development

Thursday, September 10, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Economic development and social agenda top the list of priorities on the agendas of the western region's first-time Members of Parliament.

Members of Parliament-elect Tova Hamilton, Trelawny Northern; Homer Davis, St James Southern; Tamika Davis, Hanover Western; George Wright, Westmoreland Central; and Morland Wilson, Westmoreland Western—all Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) representatives— were the successful newcomers across the western parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland in last Thursday's General Election.

The parliamentary election, the 18th since universal adult suffrage in 1944, saw the JLP defeating the People's National Party (PNP) 48-15 seats on the national level.

Speaking with the Jamaica Observer West, Wilson, who amassed 6,145 votes after the final count to unseat PNP's bigwig Dr Wykeham McNeill, who tallied 5,155, says at the top of his list is to successfully lobby for a reliable water supply in the constituency.

He rued, for instance, that the resort town of Negril, which contributes to one-third of the visitor arrivals in the tourism sector, is without a reliable water supply.

“We have 18 communities that have never had piped water. Those communities are in dire need of water and believe it or not, Negril has a shortage of water supply and it accounts for a third of tourists who come to Jamaica. You would have thought that Negril shouldn't have a water issue, but they do. Currently they are getting water from Hanover. We have one major river that goes through the constituency and we have over seven blue holes which have natural spring water and [yet] we have a shortage of water in Negril,” he complained.

He added that roads, housing, unemployment are among other items on his list to champion during his tenure in the House of Representatives.

The lack of potable water is also among the most pressing issues to be addressed by Davis, the outgoing mayor of Montego Bay.

Davis, who polled 7,223 votes to beat first- time candidate Dr Walton Small of the PNP (5,275 votes), said he intends to build the rural constituency “brick by brick” and make it one the residents will be proud of.

In addition to water, rehabilitation of the road infrastructure and the providing jobs for the young people, are also among his priorities.

“I am committed and I am prepared for the job at hand, I have no reservations that I can accomplish a lot; I am not saying that everything can be accomplished, but what I would say is that brick by brick we will build a stronger constituency, we will build a constituency that the constituents are very proud to call their constituency and so I will ask the people to give me their support and I will in turn work in their best interest,” Davis argued.

Hamilton, an attorney, who convincingly beat the incumbent Victor Wright of the PNP, also cited the need for improvement of water supplies, but stressed that the rehabilitation of roads will take precedence.

“I always say, I am very consistent— the people spoke and what they have said is that road is their priority. For me, I can't deviate from what they have said, and so road, water; they have a problem with community development, generally,” she noted.

“But I think we have to create, first the access to the communities… which roads we do will be dependent on the people again. So, I will consult and make that determination. That's a hot button issue, but let them tell me.”

Another female attorney, the JLP's Tamika Davis, who defeated three-term PNP MP Ian Hayles by over 1,000 votes, has promised to maintain a strong presence in the constituency.

“I will still maintain my office politically and legally in the town. I want persons to know that I can be reached at any time for any reason. I am going to stay in the constituency. I am not going anywhere,” Tamika assured.

She pointed out that her constituents will get “accountability, staying with the people, hearing and listening to them, and trying to make Hanover Western better.”

“I know it is a tall order. There are a lot of wrongs to right, but I am ready,” she stressed.

And Wright, who beat the PNP's Region Six Chairman Dwayne Vaz in Westmoreland Central, is promising to tackle the poor drainage, deplorable road conditions, lack of potable water and to create job opportunities during his tenure in office.

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