Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St. James Municipal Corporation, Councillor Leeroy Williams has made an impassioned plea for civic leaders and stakeholder groups in St. James to come off the fences and join the Municipality in discussions aimed at improving the parish.
Addressing the Independence Day Civic Ceremony held inside the Montego Bay Cultural Centre on Friday August 06, 2021, Mayor Williams said for too long civic and sector leaders have been having their own discussions about the manner in which Montego Bay as a city and St. James as a parish should be developed, but that discussion should be had with the St. James Municipal Corporation which is the main policy maker.
Mayor Williams said “today, I call on the leadership of all civic and progressive organizations across Montego Bay and St. James to get off the proverbial fence and become active participants in the process of community and nation building. Come and join the St. James Municipal Corporation is worthwhile conversations and participate in the governance of your country, your city and your parish. For too long we have been having fragmented discussions in our own space…we have been speaking from different sides of our mouths and sometimes we speak on the spur of the moment…This needs to stop”.
He said the time has come for stakeholders from all sectors to add their voices and place all hands on deck for the cause of further developing Montego Bay which continues to wear the tag as the fastest developing city in the Caribbean.
“As your Mayor, I am calling on all stakeholders across Montego Bay to come and add your voice to positive discourse being led by the St. James Municipal Corporation as NONE OF US IS STRONGER THAN ALL OF US”, Mayor Williams said.
At the monthly meeting of the St. James Municipal Corporation held in July, former Mayor Charles Sinclair issued a similar call to stakeholder groups, including the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce to engage the Corporation in meaningful discussions aimed at further development of Montego Bay.
Meanwhile, in reflecting on the 59th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, Mayor Williams said in just under six decades as an independent nation, Jamaica has a lot to celebrate.
He said “Independence Day 2021 provides us an opportunity to reflect on our past, celebrate the achievements and move with full force- working as a team in building our country and moving our people to unprecedented achievements. I am of the view that for Jamaica and Jamaicans, the best is yet to come”.
Mayor Williams said despite the negative impact that COVID-19 has had on Jamaica and Jamaicans, the citizens have been showing great resolve in their quest to build back and recover stronger.
He said “the past 18 months under COVID-19 fear, precautions, restrictions and lifestyle change has shown us what true resilience, grit and determination among Jamaicans is all about. Firstly, we struggled to come to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic and when added to other challenges to include crime and unemployment, at times we stood at a crossroad not knowing where we were going. However, the resolve, resilience and creativity that our Jamaican people have shown in rising from the ashes and gradually getting back on their feet, is worthy of the highest commendation. Independence Day 2021 provides the perfect platform from which as a people we can and should refocus on our quest to return Jamaica to the days when it was referred to as the Jewel of the Caribbean and YES IT CAN BE DONE!”
Mayor Williams said as the rebuilding process continues, it should be done on an unbiased basis…one which is free of political interference and one that will ensure that everyone’s voices and views are heard and respected.
“I call on all well thinking Jamaicans to play their part in rebuilding a strong Jamaica…to rebuild a Jamaica that is productive…a Jamaica that will become the envy of the world and a Jamaica where we are all our brothers and sisters keepers. We must move away from the culture of partisan politics, divisiveness and corruption and employ a spirit of care and compassion, coupled with hard work, passion, love for each other and faith in Almighty God as we build a better and brighter tomorrow.”
At the civic ceremony, sixteen individuals drawn from across the parish were honoured and presented with the Spirit of Independence Award in recognition of their contributions toward the development of St. James.