St James stakeholders demand end to Montego Bay's 'second city' label

MONTEGO BAY, St James – Stakeholders in the St James capital are livid over the continuous reference to Montego Bay as 'Jamaica's second city' and are demanding that it be referenced to just as a city.

In 1981, Montego Bay was granted city status but for many Jamaicans it remains the island's second city behind Kingston.

Among those up in arms with the persistent labelling of the tourist resort capital as the second city is Dr Patrick Prendergast, campus director of The University of the West Indies, Western Jamaica Campus.

Dr Prendergast weighed in on the issue, in agreement with Simone Mahabeer, brand manager, Courts Jamaica, at the official launch of Courts City Run on Tuesday.

Simone Mahabeer, brand manager Courts Jamaica, speak at the official launch of Courts City Run on Tuesday. (Photo: Horace Hines)

The run, conceptualised by journalist and philanthropist Janet Silvera 10 years ago, returns this year after a three-year hiatus. Courts Jamaica is the title sponsor of the event which will be staged in Montego Bay on Sunday, May 7.

"Thank you very much, madam for reminding us that this is not the second city. I never normally take it down in these kinds of settings, but since you raised it, I will underscore it. It is not the second city, was never ever, it's all wrong. It is the city of Montego Bay and we must do everything to protect it and to build it and to make it grow the way it ought to," declared Dr Prendergast.

He was responding to Mahabeer who, in her address at the launch, contended that Montego Bay has earned the right to be cited as a city and ditch the 'second city' designation.

"We can no longer refer to Montego Bay as the second city. Its status and its potential far outweigh this moniker. This is the other city, and Courts is elated to once again join the great run this year as we continue to invest in events that improve the well-being of Jamaicans.

Dr Patrick Prendergast, campus director of The University of the West Indies Western Jamaica Campus, addressing the launch of Courts City Run in MOntego Bay on Tuesday. (Photo: Horace Hines)

"The Courts brands bring value home by playing our part to mobilise and inspire those that can do. We believe that the only way to enact real change is to lead the change. This is the value you can see," said Mahabeer.

"Here in western Jamaica, there are more than 10 retail outlets under our umbrella. This means that we are well-established and interested and invested in the continued growth, development [and] advancement of the western parishes. Our continued support through charity donations and customer events speak volumes," Mahabeer stated.

In delivering the keynote address, minister of state in the Office of the Prime Minister Homer Davis declared that, "There is no place like the famous city Montego Bay."

BY HORACE HINES Observer reporter editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

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