There has been growing criticism of the move by the Andrew Holness led Government to change Portmore’s status so it will become the 15th parish, but the leader is still standing firmly behind his plans. Holness addressed many of the criticisms when the Ibex GTECH Park in the municipality was being opened on Friday.
Not having a hospital in Portmore and other basic amenities in the place that acquired municipality status, was one issue that was addressed with a promise. When he said plans are being made to have a hospital there, making it fit to be a parish.
The Prime Minister said the People’s National Party had brought Portmore to the part of its evolution where it was when he took office, but he wants to build on what they had done. He and his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) wants to give Portmore its own sense of direction and governance.
For now, Portmore is seen as an informatics center where Business Processing and Outsourcing (BPO) technology can grow, but with parish status the dream can be realized to a greater extent; as there will be more consulting to get consensus and the best plans can be made to move forward.
The representative from the PNP Mr. Fitz Jackson, who is the MP for South St. Catherine, believes the move to make Portmore into a parish was not necessary as his party had given Portmore the municipality status before.
However, Mr. Holness is saying it is important for Portmore to make plans for the future now. The current workers in BPO will need to keep on improving their tech skills in order to fit in with where the world is going, and space should be made for the next set of school leavers who will need jobs.
It is still clear that a number of Portmore residents are not interested in parish status for the municipality because there is so much to be done for the other places around the island that was given that status long ago, and they see where politicians have not kept many of the promises they have made already.
The PM has promised to build high-tech technology schools that will be above the challenges that are being faced by the current school system. He believes these tech schools will produce the labour force that is needed for the future.
It is not known if the opinions of his critics will change, they might take a wait and see approach.