Markland Edwards outlines action plan for job as Portmore mayorMonday, November 22, 2021
BY CANDICE HAUGHTON
PORTMORE mayoral hopeful Markland Edwards, better known as Action for his radio dispensation, says he has great plans to turn Portmore into a functioning smart parish, after throwing his hat in the ring for the pending municipal elections on a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) ticket.
Portmore, which is a municipality city in St Catherine, received approval from a joint committee in September to become Jamaica's 15th parish.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Edwards said that despite a date not being announced as yet for the next local government election, he is ready to serve the people of Portmore once he becomes mayor.
“I am ready to take on the challenges and I am very excited about the transition from city to smart parish, which comes with so many opportunities for further development for the people,” Edwards stated, noting that the need for greater Internet connectivity was emphasised by the [novel coronavirus] pandemic.
“There are great opportunities for the development of a well-functioning smart parish, with the necessary policies and plans to support and encourage the true entrepreneurial spirit of the people of Portmore,” said Edwards.
“We really want Internet access, children being able to access their lessons online, you're able to stay home [and] order your groceries from the comfort of your living room. We would love to also have free Wi-Fi access, especially when it comes to the green spaces, the parks, the recreational areas where families with their kids will go to hang out and just have fun. I want to have people being able to connect,” he said.
Edwards stated that being a native of the area was what was driving his need to improve Portmore's infrastructure, reduce the crime rate, and advance educational and professional opportunities.
“I was born and raised in Old Braeton so there's a lot more sentiment to it — just the fact that [I'm] a native of Portmore and I want to give back,” he noted. “Rome wasn't built in a day... We need a public market, we need a hospital, we need better roads,” Edwards continued, adding that he intended to tackle the traffic congestion issue and drainage system in Portmore as well.
Additionally, he noted that garbage collection, landscaping, debushing of open spaces, and designated vending zones outside of a general market space are projects that he would undertake to improve the area.
As it relates to his crime prevention plan, Edwards told the Observer that he hopes to utilise the various community groups and revitalise the neighbourhood watch programme.
“Some of these programmes we need to revitalise them and re-energise them so people can start looking out for their neighbours and just being our brother's keeper — because crime is not just for the members of the JCF [Jamaica Constabulary Force] and the JDF [Jamaica Defence Force], it's everybody's business so we need to come together as citizens,” he declared.
“I am ready to work with all the residents, irrespective of political affiliation, and my mission is the development of [Portmore] for all residents. I strongly believe this can only be achieved at this time by the leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party of which I am proud to be a member,” Edwards ended.