Member of Parliament for St Andrew George Payne complained today that treatment of White Hill residents since a recent major land slippage was a “national tragedy”. But Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has assured that help is on the way.
The complaint and assurance came during the Estimates debate.
Payne not only made known his feelings about Government’s response to the situation in his constituency, but also spoke about his dissatisfaction with the fact that no money had been allocated in the proposed budget for spending in the district.
Describing the omission as “rubbing salt in the wound”, he said: “Nowhere in these Estimates is any provision for the people of White Hill.”
Payne charged that his constituency was being neglected because residents of the area do not have a history of supporting the governing Democratic Labour Party.
“The big sin that they have committed is that they have never voted for the Democratic Labour Party.”
But contributing to the debate later, Prime Minister Stuart said that he received a report with recommendations for the area from Minister of Transport and Public Works Michael Lashley and he had studied them over the weekend.
“And the Honourable Member for St Andrew can be assured that the White Hill issue will get appropriate and urgent attention from the Government,” he said.
But in his contribution, Payne had said that Lashley was the major source of the complaint.
He was particularly annoyed with the minister for going to the area last November and declaring the damaged White Hill Road “abandoned” without consultation with residents or him as the parliamentary representative.
“I believe that he should publicly apologize to the people of White Hill,” Payne contended.
“Three leading construction companies wanted to start the road the next day. Soil Conservation [Department] wanted to create a temporary road but the person who was representing the Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry of Public Works [said] he had instructions from on high [not to] allow the people from soil conservation to go there.”
The MP said the road was now completely blocked because construction material had been dumped there.
“They didn’t even allow a place for lil passage for pedestrians to walk,” he complained.
Additionally, the Opposition MP said, residents were also facing problems with garbage disposal and he also spoke about a pregnant resident who almost lost her baby because emergency vehicles could not enter the area.
He called on Lashley to revisit the district, retract his statement on abandonment of the road and update the constituents on the plans for their neighbourhood.