Regional

St Ann junior councillors want their communities better developed

BY RENAE DIXON Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, December 09, 2013    

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There may have been young children present, some just in grade six, but it was no "dolly house" when students met for the St Ann Junior Council meeting recently at the Parish Council.

The junior councillors, chosen during Local Government Month celebrated in November, and who will be working alongside their senior counterparts to serve the divisions in the parish, called for several issues affecting their communities to be addressed.

The concern of unemployment among young people was high on the agenda and one which the junior councillors wanted to see addressed with much haste.

Student of Brown's Town Community College and Junior Councillor for the Brown's Town Division Roshane Simmonds said he has recognised that many youth in his community have been on the streets or at home doing nothing.

This, he added, was not because they are not qualified to pursue a tertiary education, but lack the necessary financial resources to be able to do so.

"It does not help that jobs are not available," he argued.

Simmonds was among 15 junior councillors who raised a number of issues facing their communities across St Ann.

The group was lead by Junior Mayor Rochelle Garvey, also a student of the Brown's Town Community College.

"I deem it an honour for such confidence placed in me to serve as junior mayor for 2013-2014," Garvey who represents the Sturge Town Division stated.

Garvey who was allocated $100, 000 said she will be undertaking as her project, a storage for farm products as farming is a major activity in her community.

This project, she expects, will reduce the spoilage of these produce.

Garvey said she will also be working with the other junior councillors to effectively serve the citizens of the parish in the one-year stint given to them.

Among the many concerns of the junior councillors were the poor road conditions, lack of water and lack of street lights in their communities.

Junior councillor for the Bamboo Division, 10-year-old Roheeme Brown, said he has never seen potable water in households in his community. According to the outspoken junior councillor, people have to gather at a wayside tank for water daily. This tank, he said, was not sufficient to serve the community and requested that at least two more be made available to the community.

Jsherrick Wildman, student of the Charlton Primary and junior councillor representing the Alexandria Division, said several necessities were missing from the once vibrant town.

Wildman pointed out that the community library was never replaced after fire destroyed it many years ago. She noted, however, that cnstruction started on another but funding is needed to complete the structure.

She also pointed out that a cemetery was needed to serve the area as the nearest one is in Brown's Town and this is now filled to capacity.

Wildman also expressed hope that the market in Alexandria will be revived. The facility is reportedly abandoned and now taken over by animals. The young councillor was also concerned about citizens having to travel for miles to Brown's Town in order to access banking services.

Kemille Johnson, student of Moneague College and representative of the neighbouring Bensonton Division has called for roads leading to Nine Miles, the site of the Bob Marley museum, to be fixed. Johnson said the Tourism Enhancement Fund should seek to address the issue as tourists frequent the area, which is the birthplace of the reggae icon.

On the issue of attractions, Junior Councillor for the St Ann's Bay Division Ricoya Black believes the house of one of Jamaica's national heroes Marcus Garvey, should be declared a national site. The student of the St Ann's Bay Primary also pointed to the large number of homeless people roaming the streets of the capital, as something which needs immediate attention.

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