Pothole-riddled roads high on Hamilton's agenda if electedWednesday, July 29, 2020
BY HORACE HINES
FALMOUTH, Trelawny — If Government Senator Tova Hamilton is successful in her bid to be the Member of Parliament for Trelawny Northern in the upcoming general election, among her greatest priorities, she says, will be to forcefully advocate in the House of Representatives for the improvement of the deplorable road conditions across the constituency.
Among the worst roads is the 14-mile pothole-riddled corridor stretching from Falmouth to Spring Vale, which has drawn the ire of motorists over the years.
Hamilton, the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP's) standard-bearer who is a proud daughter of Trelawny, noted that all her “plans are perfectly aligned with the needs of the people, they have spoken, and for me their word is law”.
“It is said that the road to development begins with a road, and for some time now they have been crying out for improvements to the road network and for consistent water supply. All other improvements, I believe, will flow naturally from these developments,” she told the Jamaica Observer.
She added: “The youth are also in need of urgent attention and require critical engagement. They feel muzzled and ignored. I believe right up there with the priority plans must be job creation, arising especially from the impact of COVID-19, which means we will have to hit the ground running in marketing the constituency as the investment mecca. We have all the raw materials to make Trelawny Northern fulfil its potential of being the gateway to economic growth.”
Hamilton, who studied at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus, before transitioning to Norman Manley Law School after leaving Westwood High School for girls, and William Knibb Memorial High School where she received her first year of secondary education, is exuding confidence that she can oust sitting Member of Parliament Victor Wright of the People's National Party (PNP).
“I am confident that this journey I am currently on has been with the blessing of the people of Trelawny Northern and that at the end of that fateful day, when the ballots are counted, victory will be for them. I believe the people have made a conscious decision to invest in me and will continue to do so until they reap the reward of their investment,” she declared.
She took a swipe at her political rival, who has occupied the seat since 2016, accusing him of wasting his time engaging in witch-hunts instead of providing meaningful representation for his constituents.
“I agree that the incumbent will have an uphill task in convincing the people for a second time that he is the man for the job when he has not one major achievement to show for his time in office. He has squandered his time running around searching for scandals, and has lost sight of his purpose,” Hamilton argued. “The same old strategies have been employed to win elections in this seat for the past 31 years will be of little help to him, as the generation of today no longer have an interest in yesterday's politics. So, while he battles against his own ineptitude, I will be busy winning the hearts of the people and convincing them that I am the woman for the job.”
Aspiring to be Trelawny Northern's first female parliamentarian, Hamilton, who spent her formative years in the communities of Martha Brae, Hague and Falmouth, disclosed that it was her philanthropic work around the parish that whetted her appetite for representational politics.
“If I am being honest, the people chose me to be their servant. I have been involved in some amount of philanthropy in the space and experienced first-hand the needs of the people. What was also glaring was the lack of representation on the ground. People need to feel like they matter and that there is someone willing to give a listening ear. I am called upon, ever so often, to lend that ear, which I am always happy to do, and where I can, also provide assistance. I believe my philanthropy was instrumental in piquing my political interest and acted as a crutch in my transition into representational politics,” said the former member of Generation 2000 (G2K), the professional youth arm of the JLP.
“Additionally, I was trained to advocate for the rights of people [so] it only makes sense for me to use my training to assist the people who helped to shape me into the person I am today. I believe I have a duty to provide that type of servant leadership,” she said.
She also lashed out at what she claimed to be the culture of cronyism practised by successive politicians, which has, over time, hampered the country's development.
“For too long we have been subjected to the distribution of scarce resources based on one's political preference, those who ensure the maintenance of the status quo are the ones that are fed rather than taught how to fish. This in itself has created layers of challenges, as over the years it has inculcated an unhealthy level of dependency on the politician,” the aspiring MP charged.
She took the leaders in the parish to task for their seeming lack of vision, which, she said, has attributed to not enough individuals in the parish enjoying the economic spin-offs from the cruise shipping pier in the parish capital, Falmouth, during the pre-COVID-19 era.
The pier was officially opened on March 22, 2011.
“It is the lack of visionary leadership that has contributed to our inability to capitalise in a significant way from one of the greatest raw materials that is housed in the parish. One of the main issues being faced is the limited attractions in the local space to retain the patronage of the passengers. As a result, our tour guides, food vendors, local businesses, and by extension the constituency, cannot realise much economic benefit from the pier's existence because the passengers are forced to travel out of parish to be sufficiently entertained,” she lamented.
Hamilton noted that the Georgian town of Falmouth and its environs, with its rich culture and history, have all the raw materials to develop income-generating products that can appeal to the masses and do more to promote existing community enterprises.
If she gets the nod at the polls, the legacy she wants to leave is to have made a positive impact on the lives of many.
“That Trelawny Northern, and by extension Jamaica, would be in a much better position than I found it. It is also my responsibility as a female in politics to leave a legacy that will take the next generation of women to a level we can only imagine,” said Hamilton, who is the only female contender in the history of the seat, as she urged more women to get involved in representational politics.
“Greater levels of female participation [are] essential to building and sustaining strong, vibrant democracies. Their involvement impacts the types of policy issues that get considered and the solutions that are proposed. Additionally, their style of leadership, when honed, tends to be transformational,” Hamilton argued.
The constituency of Trelawny Northern borders the constituencies of Trelawny Southern, St Ann North Western, St James East Central, and St James Southern.
The majority of people in the constituency work in the tourism sector.
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