Tue | May 30, 2023

MP out of touch – Thomas

Portmore mayor dismisses Miller’s claim that council is neglecting New Forum Fishing Village

Published:Friday | March 17, 2023 | 12:56 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Several shops  located at the Forum fishing village in Portmore, St. Catherine were destroyed by fire last April.
Several shops located at the Forum fishing village in Portmore, St. Catherine were destroyed by fire last April.
Robert Miller Member of Parliament for St. Catherine South Eastern.
Robert Miller Member of Parliament for St. Catherine South Eastern.
Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas
Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas

Member of Parliament for St Catherine South East Robert Miller has accused the Portmore Municipal Council of frustrating efforts to rebrand the New Forum Fishing Village where last April, 14 shops were destroyed by fire leaving millions of dollars in damages.

Miller said his attempts to get a temporary approval from the municipal council to rebuild the shops so that the fisherfolk could resume their businesses have been met with resistance from the council.

“I have been speaking with a private sector interest who wants to invest in the fishing village, but it has been held up by the council,” Miller told The Gleaner in an interview.

“Further to this the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) wants to turn over the fishing village to the Municipal Council and they refused to take it.”

According to Miller, this action has put a hold on the commercial activities of the fisherfolk who are still having difficult times recovering from the early morning fire that destroyed shops and fishing gear.

Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas, however, dismissed Miller’s claim, as false, misguided, and misinformed.

“The member of parliament is out of touch, he should know that the new Forum fishing village is not owned by the council (as) it still remains the property of the UDC,” Thomas told The Gleaner.

“The Municipal Council was approached by the UDC for us to take over the operations of the fishing village and after touring the facility with them we informed them that the sanitary conveniences, waste water disposal facility and the lighting would have to be addressed before we can proceed,” Thomas revealed.

He said that at no time did the member of parliament approach the council with his proposal which he would have (then) been instructed to take up with the UDC.

Thomas noted that the municipal council fully intends to take over the facility when the conditions are met.

Efforts by The Gleaner to contact the UDC for comments were unsuccessful.


Addressing the issue of his political tenure, and upcoming challenges from aspirants, the first-term St Catherine South East incumbent cited 25 years of neglect by the PNP as a disqualifying factor.

Councillor for the Bridgeport Division and deputy Mayor Alric Campbell, medical doctor Alfred Dawes, and businessman Peter Blake have all applied to contest the seat.

“I know they would come full force because they need this seat to win any kind of majority, but I am not perturbed. My track record speaks for itself. I have achieved more in my first term than they have achieved in 25 years,” he said.

“When you look at the Garveymeade area that was neglected, I have put resources in there last year and resurfaced the road,” Miller added.

He said for 30 years the Bridgeport business complex, where the police station, post office and a dental clinic are located has been neglected and he recently resurfaced the area.

“The reality is that my work can speak for itself. Myrtle Way has been without running water for years and I solved the problem. Also through my leadership 128 houses in the area have been rewired and now put on the electrical grid,” he said.

Miller said the Resilient Park which has been neglected over the years and continues to be a dust nuisance to residents, as well as the transformation of Jamworld into an entertainment zone and mini stadium will also be achieved in short order with ground-breaking (for construction) expected very soon.

He pointed to significant investments in tertiary education and assistance in property development for the people in the constituency as projects that have distinguished him from any aspirant who wants to oppose him in a general election.

“I want some fire under my legs so that I can finish another term,” Miller quipped.