Member of Parliament Mara Thompson says she is both “horrified” and “angry” over the lack of attention being given to the urgent plight of residents of St John.
Speaking during debate on the 2017-2018 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, Thompson zeroed in on the bad state of the roads in the rural parish, while voicing her strong displeasure over the current bus service provided by the state-run Transport Board, which she said also left a lot to be desired.
“The buses don’t come on time or don’t come at all, namely the Sargeant’s and the Martins Bay bus. [Residents] are not pleased about the lack of action in acquiring the ground at College Savannah where Sussex Cricket Club plays cricket. I have numerous letters,” Thompson said.
She also identified a number of communities that were affected by “ruts, potholes, bumps and craters”, resulting in “destruction of shocks, depreciation of cars, angry constituents and an angry Member of Parliament”.
Reading from a prepared speech, the widow of late Prime Minister David Thompson, who took over the St John seat following his passing back in 2010, also expressed horror over Government’s plan for dealing with the current shortage of primary schools in the area, which has traditionally been a ruling Democratic Labour Party stronghold.
“They [residents] are not pleased about the condition of the St John Primary School and the closure of the Society Primary School, and they are as horrified, as I am, at being told that the new school to house the students of these two schools will be located at the site of the old outpatient’s clinic at Gall Hill. An absurd idea! And they have told me to say right here on the floor of the House today that they will not permit this to happen,” she reported.
The Government representative said she had written “numerous letters” to the relevant ministers outlining the residents’ concerns.
And though acknowledging that Government was constrained economically at this time, with its proverbial pie “actually the size of a cupcake”, she was adamant that “whatever size the piece is, St John deserves and demands its share”.
She was however pleased about the refurbishment of the post office at Four Roads, the pavilion at Gall Hill, the Lodge School, and the gift of a parcel of land for recreational use.
“I want to say how pleased the constituents of St John are at the completion of the St John Polyclinic and indeed another complex, the David Thompson Health and Services Complex,” she added.
In his contribution, Minister of Housing and Lands Denis Kellman acknowledged receipt of a letter “some time last year” from Thompson regarding the College Savannah land for the Sussex Cricket Club.
He said that his ministry and that of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport visited the area and both agreed the land should be acquired to help develop sport in the parish.