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Tuff Gong
03-16-2006, 10:24 AM
South West St Andrew
published: Thursday | March 16, 2006
Martin Henry

APART FROM downtown Kingston, South West St. Andrew and surrounding areas were the first parts of the capital city that I got to know very well, as country come to town.

The first place I lived in Kingston was on St. James Avenue off middle Maxfield Avenue just below Lyndhurst Road. I moved into an older brother's one-room in the tradition of the older fore-runners accommodating the younger who followed to get a foot in the city.

But even before moving into Kingston, most of my immediate relatives in the city then lived in this general area. My family had links to Greenwich Town. So I got to know really well that patch of the city from Maxfield Avenue below Lyndhurst Road over to Hagley Park Road and through Greenwich Town down to Marcus Garvey Drive.

I roamed pretty freely over South West St Andrew day and night. Many a night, coming out of Greenwich Town, we would stand without any fear what-soever at the foot of Maxfield waiting for a Jolly Joseph bus to take us up the avenue; or on Spanish Town Road waiting for a bus for Waltham Park Road.

We are not talking about any halcyon days of long, long ago. I am not that old. I got to know South-West St. Andrew in the heady days of the 1970s when Michael Manley and socialism ruled and Portia Simpson was entering representational politics as a KSAC councillor.

'FREE EDUCATION' STUDENT

I made my contribution to the revolution, as a Level IV JAMAL teacher in Greenwich Town, while still a teenager and a 'free education' student myself. I taught a number of JSC subjects. Somehow, I got a number of people, all women who were enthusiastic and hard working, to pass their subjects. Some of my very first set of students went on to professional training on the strength of their JAMAL JSCs.

Like so much of the rest of the city, South West St. Andrew and surrounding areas subsequently took a turn for the worse, experiencing de-development rather than development. The 1997 "Report of the National Committee on Political Tribalism" named eight constituencies with garrison features, among them South-West St. Andrew.

Tony Myers, in his, December 4, 2005, Sunday Gleaner article, "Roll Call - Bogus voting and the leaders-to-be in Jamaica" noted that "in the general elections of 1976 and 1980 (before Portia's time as MP), the constituency of St. Andrew South West reigned supreme as the number one bogus voting constituency." Things have never been that bad since then with a steady decline in over-voting but the overwhelming majority of votes still go to one party.

On Tuesday Hartley Neita provided some data in his 'This Day in Our Past' feature which had the unintended effect of demonstrating the usual closeness of votes when constituencies are not heavily 'organised'. In neighbouring South St. Andrew Anthony Spaulding won the 1972 election, in a magisterial recount, by a mere 300 votes out of 7,416 votes cast. That was never again to happen!

EFFECTS OF 'GARRISONISATION'

The Kerr Report noted that, "Among the more visible physical effects of 'garrisonisation' are the abandonment of legally owned houses and business premises followed by the capture of some of these by illegal occupants and/or the destruction of others through vandalism and inappropriate usage. By this process, large areas of some garrison communities remain in a permanently derelict condition, which in turn fosters criminality and violence".

Areas of South West St. Andrew, like lower Maxfield Ave, have been systematically burned out. The constituency has joined the killing fields in the Police Division of South St. Andrew which has the highest number of homicides per capita in the country. Sitting in close proximity to the largest industrial belt in the country and one of the major trans-shipment ports in the entire Western Hemisphere, the area basks in dereliction.

The de-development changes in South West St. Andrew are metaphors of what has politically, economically and socially gone wrong with Jamaica.

For over 30 years I have watched the decline of this part of the city. The MP, South West St. Andrew, as Prime Minister of the nation has a major task to put her own house in order while leading development across the rest of the country.


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Martin Henry is a communication specialist.

South West St Andrew (http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20060316/cleisure/cleisure3.html)

Wahalla
03-16-2006, 10:34 PM
It is odd that when I read this kind of writing... They bring back memories.... It is always surprising the things you recall..

somewhere between round 75 I recall reading an old gleaner with the results of the 72 elections.. I recall that Seaga and Cudley deadly had huge majorities more than 80 %... There were a couple more Manley I seemed to recall did not have such a run away majority I seem to recall 60%.. Isnt it a shame we did not protest these anamolies and they now have devleoped into these morally reprehensible rotten boroughs...?

Even more crazy was the fact that Martin Henry admits he too was caught in the eurphoria of the Manley like you Tuffy...

It is even stranger when I see people celebrate with out critisism the behaviour of polticians... Now there is a aura of corruption. Then it does not strike so much...
Oh do you recall I asked if JSC was still running a few months ago and I wondered when it was stopped....

I seem to recall that Portia was about in the 70's my memory fails so much I thought she was an mp in 76....

Tuff Gong
03-17-2006, 12:41 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Even more crazy was the fact that Martin Henry admits he too was caught in the eurphoria of the Manley like you Tuffy...

[/ QUOTE ]

Actually I was never caught up in the Menlie Praise and Worship, even though I remain a supporter of the PNP.
I co-wrote a poem against the time in 77. It was called 1977 I Man Free.
That has been how long I have been protesting the direction of the PNP under Menlie and then PJoke. I played no part in the Menlie and PJoke Revolution. I was too young top vote even up to the 80s and by the early 90s I had left Jamaica.

It is funny how journalists such as Martin Henry write day in day out, but never the truth till it overpowers them. His horse did not come in now he tells us that he has personal knowledge of how Sister Ps Constituency has changed for the worse.

He used to live down the street from me. He lived in Rome and I lived above Rome on the other side of Lyndhurst Road. We both know the best very well.