JSC to complete report on Portmore as 15th parish TuesdayTuesday, September 21, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Joint Select Committee (JSC) which had been reviewing a proposal to make Portmore Jamaica's 15th parish, is expected to complete its work today.
Chaired by former Mayor of Spanish Town and current Member of Parliament (MP) for South Central St Catherine, Dr Andrew Wheatley, the committee resumed meeting at Gordon House at 10:00 this morning to review the draft report compiled by the legal team.
This follows the committee's decision on September 2, in favour of parish status being granted to the fast-growing municipality, which has been considered a dormitory community with most of its over 300,000 residents travelling daily to Kingston and St Andrew to work, over the years.
After the committee finishes reviewing the draft report, it should be tabled in Parliament for approval by the end of the month, Dr Wheatley has assured.
“The clerk has sent out the draft report and the committee is going to meet tomorrow to look at it, to see if it captures everything that we wanted, and then we will give the instructions to send the final report, including any corrections, and sign off on it and then that's it,” Dr Wheatley told Observer Online yesterday.
“I can assure you that the report will be tabled before the end of September. After we do what we have to do tomorrow, I am looking to submit the final report next Tuesday to Parliament, all things being equal so that the prime minister can then run and do whatever he wants to do, afterwards,” he added.
The move to make the community Jamaica's 15th parish was led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who made it a priority in the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) election manifesto for the September 3, 2020, general election.
The party has insisted that, by already having its municipal council, a feature of local government which had always been on a parish basis, and has operated separately from the parish it resides in as it relates to local authority, it is deserving of being promoted to being a parish.
“Portmore will be able to have its own share of the parochial revenue fund, and make plans that it can finance, which also means the development of its own market, hospital, upgraded schools, water supply and roads.”
Holness has also promised that a public hospital will be built within the new parish, as soon as possible.
However, Opposition members of the committee, including veteran MP Fitz Jackson have dismissed the efforts to make the community a parish as political, and unnecessary in light of its position as a municipality.
The 14-man committee which has been handling the review since December last year is comprised of Dr Wheatley, and fellow Government members — including Delroy Chuck, Marlene Malahoo Forte, Everald Warmington, Homer Davis, Robert Miller, Leslie Campbell, AlandoTerrelonge, as well as Senators Natalie Campbell-Rodriquez, Delroy Williams and Sherene Golding Campbell; and Opposition members — Fitz Jackson and Denise Daley MPs and Senators Damion Crawford and Floyd Morris.