Gimme-Me-Bit community advocate voices concerns
Gimme-Me-Bit resident Robert Thompson has urged Prime Minister Andrew Holness to intervene and direct that the roadways in the community be repaired.
Describing himself as “the voice of those who cannot speak up”, Thompson raised issue with the ramshackle roads, cemetery space, and the overbearing stench he linked to dunder at the New Yarmouth cane field.
Dunder is a by-product of sugar cane from fermentation in the distillation of rum.
Thompson said he is frustrated.
“Mr (Lothan) Cousins, he only can do so much, he is doing his best,” Thompson said of the Clarendon South West member of parliament.
“I am going to make it clear that I am a JLP ... Mr Prime Minister, Mr Andrew Holness, sir, it is not because down here is not Kingston, Montego Bay or other upscale communities, remember us sir, remember we vote for JLP and we are citizens of the land of wood and water that we all love, bypass the politics and give us a better road,” is the plea coming from him.
Cousins, in response, acknowledged that the surface is in need of repairs, but said there had been significant improvements to the road network since December 2020.
“We continue to advocate and seek funding from the NWA (National Works Agency) in that regard and wish to thank the J. Wray and Nephew Group for the continued support of the communities through its partnership with the Office of the Member of Parliament to assist with road repairs on an annual basis,” he shared, pointing out that it can and will never be enough to execute the type of upgrades that are required.
Adding his voice to that of the community members, he said it is his hope that the cries of the commuting public have not fallen on deaf ears and that the Government through the NWA will fulfil its obligation to the people by allocating funds and executing repairs to the network.
Commenting on Thompson’s wish to see the cemetery in the area being utilised, Councillor Carlton Bailey said there has been an increase in requests for burials in Gimme-Me-Bit because the situation at Denbigh is untenable.
“The reality is that the MP and myself, we have sat down and we have discussed the cemetery along with a few stakeholders from the community and we are looking at a way to see how best we can get it bushed out properly so that people can feel comfortable in going down there and use it,” said Bailey.
The councillor said the area was cleaned up under the Lift Up Jamaica Programme with the intention that the community would keep it clean. However, he said nothing was done, with the area once again needing to be cleaned up.
Thompson’s third grouse is that of the dunder, which he said is used to water the cane, creating a stink and affecting residents with asthma and different kinds of illnesses, and said he has got nowhere with his complaints.
Tanikie McClarthy Allen, senior director of public affairs at J. Wray and Nephew, expressed surprise at the new development, as she said the company has been in communication with residents, with another council meeting set for Wednesday.
“We are in constant dialogue with the community, we have a quarterly council meeting. It is not a new issue, the smell is high depending on wind direction and time of year. We have in fact brought in health professionals to speak to the community about it,” she shared.