Let’s put Trelawny to the ‘TEST’
Views from the West
As I watch the parish of Trelawny position itself to become a major player in the fundamentals for the country’s economic growth, my thoughts reflect on the general citizenry — on whether they, too, are positioning themselves to benefit from the growth and development in the parish.
Since 2000 the parish has seen massive growth in its housing stock, agricultural production, tourism (including cruise shipping) and small business, yet the indices of poverty and unemployment remain very high in the vast majority of communities.
Trelawny was once one of the richest parishes in the western hemisphere. The parish was the home of two of Europe’s richest planters in James Tharpe and Edward Barrett.
So prosperous were the major players that the talk in Europe was that everyone wanted to be as rich as a Trelawny planter.
Although the major players were endowed with indices of riches, the average Trelawny resident remained rooted in poverty and a low quality of life.
I view the future of the parish with some trepidation as it relates to how the average citizen will be able to benefit from planned developmental interventions such as Harmony Cove, housing, crop production, commerce, cruise shipping, sports and tourism.
With that in mind, I am calling on major stakeholders in the parish to establish a ‘Trelawny Economic Support Taskforce (TEST), to develop an intervention strategy in an effort to have a holistic approach to development and how those developments can impact the quality of life of the people of the parish.
The taskforce should consist of players from the political directorate, civil society, former Members of Parliament, custos, business community, the Trelawny Diaspora and community-based groups.
The terms of reference of such a taskforce could include:
• Consultative approach to development;
• Participation in the decision-making processes from the political directorate;
• How the development will impact the environment and the citizens;
• How development will impact on community development; and
• Strategies to make the quality of life of the people of Trelawny synonymous with all developments.
For too long the people of Trelawny have remained behind the curtains and zinc fences in the parish’s development.
Both central and local governments have played lip service to improving the quality of life in the parish.
In the midst of a plethora of projects in Trelawny, we are yet to see the upward corresponding movement in the happiness index of the people.
TEST, once properly put together, can be the catalyst to spur hope and aspiration of the people.
Fernandez “Bingy” Smith is a former councillor for the Sherwood Content Division in Trelawny.