Law to make Portmore 15th parish will come after local polls – PM Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says while legislation to make Portmore Jamaica’s 15th parish has been drafted, the Government will not have it approved in Parliament before the pending Local Government Elections.

The elections, which were last held in November 2016, are slated to be held no later than February 28, 2024.

“Our Bill is ready to go to Parliament. We were ready for a little while now, we will not take it to Parliament, we will probably… table it, but we will not pass it, because there is no way that we could seek to establish a parish and it be clouded in political accusations. No, we would never do that, and I want the people of Portmore to be assured of that,” said Holness.

He made the announcement at the official launch of the $4.4 billion Portmore Resilience Park in St. Catherine on Thursday.

Concerns have been raised by the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) about the planned naming of Portmore as Jamaica’s 15th parish.

Holness said the Government’s intention to create a new political administration for Portmore has nothing to do with trying to gain a political advantage.

He said the decision is necessitated by the need for proper administration of the affairs of the rapidly developing municipality.

“I use political in two senses, one sense is the contest for power and the other sense is the administration of the affairs of the people, the participation of the people in the administration of their affairs.

“Portmore has reached the point, and it has reached that point long ago, where we must now provide for the proper administration of its affairs – economic, social, cultural, infrastructure, security – all of the local affairs,” he stated.

Holness said there is a standard process engaged for changing political geographical boundaries.

“Any change in the physical boundaries of a political geographical area will result in a change in voting outcomes, quite possibly, but that does not mean that you should not change political geographical boundaries. Indeed, there is a standard process engaged in, in a routine way by the Electoral Commission,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said that changes will also be considered for the administration of affairs in Negril, Westmoreland.

“There is another area where its own administrative personality is emerging, and which we will have to consider some change in how their affairs are administered, and that is Negril. You will understand that the town of Negril has grown; it has grown out of Westmoreland into Hanover and it is now creating a problem as to which municipality has charge over its development,” the prime minister said.

“So, these are things that happen as populations grow, as countries grow, and we shouldn’t be afraid of it, we should embrace it as part of the change, and that is how we as Jamaicans start to take responsibility for our own future and destiny. So, we need to put aside the political fear,” he added.

Construction of the Portmore Resilience Park is expected to begin in February, and is slated for completion in September 2025.

Located at Lot 26 Portmore Town Centre in St Catherine, the investment is expected to generate more than 400 direct job opportunities and over 200 indirect jobs, while the operational phase is to create employment for more than 100 people.

The park is to cover approximately 21.25 acres within the 26-acre lot. This includes a 2.75-acre area reserved for a commercial development in the near-term. The remaining 4.75 acres are set aside for a transport hub by the Ministry of Transport.