Mount Pleasant residents rally to make community better
Steven Freeman fixing aroad in his Mount Pleasantcommunity

MOUNT PLEASANT, Portland — Less than a year after being launched, a community group intent on having Mount Pleasant recover some of its former glory has made progress. They have cleaned up the community, done minor road repairs, provided skills training and generally lifted residents' spirits.

Evelyn Roper was one of the main players behind the Mount Pleasant Upliftment Group that was launched in February. After living in another section of the parish for many years, said the retired teacher, she returned to find that the community where she grew up had changed. It had become infamous, for example, as the place where a British couple, returnees, were brutally murdered, a crime that remains unsolved.

“I didn't feel the warmth that was there before I left. This bothered me and I considered what can be done to bring the togetherness back. I just wanted to assist in whatever way I can,” Roper told the Jamaica Observer.

She saw an invitation to become a justice of the peace as a way to meet her neighbours and find out how best she could work with them to make their community a better place to live in.

Word soon spread about the group she had launched and the feedback was encouraging.

“I received numerous calls and visits on a daily basis. I shared my ideas with a few persons and by their responses I knew that this would be possible. Some said they were 'longing for something like this',” said Roper.

She was particularly concerned about the less fortunate and the impact the novel coronavirus may be having on them.

“I met with a few people and explained my objectives: to create a friendly, caring, sharing environment; caring for the elderly and less fortunate; facilitating skills training in the form of floral arrangements cake baking and decorating, and as a retired teacher I assisted the non-readers,” she said.

Major projects included keeping the community clean and patching holes in the road.

“We printed T-shirts and started out with our first project which was cleaning drains, removing debris, packing it away in garbage bags contributed by community members. They also provided cases of water and gloves for our first day out on the 28th of July,” recalled a proud Roper.

“We had a fund-raising event in the form of a bake sale and the support was excellent. Proceeds went to providing hot meals for the elderly and less fortunate; we fed 63 persons,” she added.

They also spent six days cleaning the playfield and getting the community centre ready for events.

Later this month, the community group will host a dinner for children, the elderly and the less fortunate. In January 2022, they will organise a beautification project that will see prizes being awarded for the top three best gateways.

“We have received calls from persons in the diaspora asking what is going on and who are willing to support the efforts. Some persons in Canada are packing barrels to send for the children treat, and with other items,” said Roper.

She is eager to see the playfield, which has become so overgrown that livestock is put there to graze, be restored to its former glory. Her plan is to have its surface redone so it can once again be used for cricket and football matches.

Group members and workers wore branded shirts during their first event.
Group leader Evelyn Roper preparing meals for a workday.
Community members repairing the road
Resident Fitzroy McFarlane transportingmaterial used to fix the road.
A young resident joins the cleaning uptheir community centre.
Residents of Mount Pleasant cleaning uptheir community centre. (Photos: EverardOwen)
BY EVERARD OWEN Observer writer

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