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JLP MP wants answers on $160m reportedly spent by Portmore Municipal Corporation on Climate Change Park

Saturday, September 25, 2021

ST CATHERINE, Jamaica— Member of Parliament for St Catherine South East, Robert Miller, has called on the People's National Party-led Portmore Municipal Corporation (PMC) to account for what he said is $160 million that was supposed to have been spent on establishing the so-called Climate Change Park in the vicinity of the Portmore Mall.

“We have been asking questions to the Municipal Council as to what has been done to the $160 million that is said to have been spent on the park, which continues to be a dust bowl and nuisance to many. The citizens of St Catherine South Eastern need answers and they need them now,” said Miller.

He was speaking Wednesday during his contribution to the 2021/22 State of the Constituency Debate in the House of Representations.

While Miller did not elaborate on his accusation about $160 million being spent on the park, he said he was set to commence consultations with the citizens on Thursday in regards to the parcel of land.

“While campaigning, it's on record Madam Speaker, a commitment to transform that area into a state-of-the-art recreational park similar to Emancipation Park, with more amenities. Meetings were held with the Urban Development Corporation, they loved the idea and it was also presented in the Prime Minister's Budget presentation in Parliament in March of this year,” Miller noted.

He said his office was encouraging citizens to get involved and present their ideas as to the amenities that they would like in their community for their comfort.

“We also encourage our government to make provision to make this venture a reality as it would be a beautiful attraction to the citizens of Portmore,” he added.

From as early as 2012 when the late George Lee was Mayor, plans were touted to develop the 15-acre site into a recreational area for the people of Portmore. At one time consideration was given to erecting a transportation hub at the location.

In May 2014, the so-called Climate Change Park was designated the national Labour Day project for that year and news later emerged that the project was to be a joint undertaking between the PMC and the German city of Hagen under a Municipal Climate Partnership Programme.

Germany had reportedly promised to allocate €250,000 (roughly J$43 million at today's exchange rate) to the project.

The park was supposed to feature solar and wind energy systems, rainwater harvesting, a jogging trail, a water fountain, park benches and a waste-water treatment plant, among other amenities.

However, it has largely remained a dust bowl and a section remains flooded for days after heavy rain.