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'We disagree'

JLP councillors in Hanover not in favour of bypass for Lucea

Observer West writer

Thursday, January 10, 2019

LUCEA, Hanover — Mayor of Lucea Sheridan Samuels has welcomed plans announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness to create a bypass road for Lucea, the capital of Hanover, in a bid to ease traffic congestion in the north-western town.

But, at least two Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillors at the People's National Party (PNP) — controlled Hanover Municipal Corporation are seemingly against a bypass road, arguing that such a move would render Lucea a 'ghost town.'

“I don't know how excited you (Mayor Samuels) are for a bypass for Hanover, but I am not. I know that if a bypass comes to the parish, the town is going downhill. The tourists will not be able to traverse the town areas such as Hopewell, Sandy Bay and Lucea. They would take the bypass to Negril and back to Montego Bay.

“So, if you see it in a good way that the bypass is going to allow the tourists to come through the town and see Hanover, then so it is,” argued councillor of the Chester Castle division, Fearon DeCarish, at a recent monthly general meeting of the corporation.

However, the mayor in response to DeCarish presentation said such a statement from a political representative represents “a dark day for the parish”.

“I don't want to challenge you on it. To know that you are a political representative within the parish itself, and to hear you say something like this, it is really a dark day for us. Honestly,” Mayor Samuels replied.

A few days later, JLP minority leader Councillor Devon Brown, expressed a similar concern to that of his party colleague.

“If you build a road and bypass the town, all commercial activities in the town will be lessened.

Brown suggested that the corridor along the sea on the outskirts of the town be dredged and dumped up in order to allow widening of the roadway.

Holness announced plans for the bypass road during his address at the JLP conference in Kingston last November.

A month later, Finance Minister, Dr Nigel Clarke, during his address of the Negril Chamber of Commerce Annual Gala Dinner and Dance held at Couples Swept Away in Negril, reiterated Holness's promise.

A commencement date for the planned bypass road, however, has not been made public.

During a recent monthly general meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation, Mayor Samuels expressed gratitude to the prime minister for making the announcement, stressing that the bypass road is well needed.

“I want to use the opportunity to thank the prime minister for announcing such a move, because we are in dire need of the bypass for the town,” expressed Mayor Samuels.

He further substantiated his argument for a bypass, pointing out that the town is usually rendered impassable, due to flooding, during heavy rain.

“Presently when the (Lucea) West River overflows its bank, it is really, really chaotic for traffic to really traverse that area. So, if we get a bypass, that could remedy the situation completely,” the mayor argued.

Daily traffic jams in the town was another pitching point for the mayor in his quest for a bypass road.

“We are from the western side of Hanover, so we know how serious this is when traffic backs up for two, three miles going down to Watson Taylor Park and Rusea's (High School). So, that is how we know definitely that we need this bypass,” Mayor Samuels added.

Both former and current presidents of the Negril Chamber of Commerce, Lee Issa and Daniel Grizzle, respectively, had also made a call for a bypass road for the town of Lucea.