BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth — Member of Parliament (MP) for St Elizabeth South Western Floyd Green has reiterated that commerce and tourism investments are returning to this heritage-rich south-central town.
Speaking at the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Black River Divisional conference in support of aspirant Dr Adeniyi Bamidele in Slipe (near Black River) on Sunday, Green announced that the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo) is to open an office in Black River.
“When we came to the constituency, everybody was talking about people leaving Black River, [it] being a ghost town. All of the government services were leaving Black River, and I looked at the MP and said why is that so, and I realised why that was so. There was no government investment in Black River since 1989 barring one… that was when Dr Christopher Tufton [then MP for the constituency] built the Black River Market and Fish Market,” Green said.
“When we came, people were leaving Black River. I wonder if you see what is happening to Black River now,” he said while pointing to a number of commercial developments.
“Black River Safari a fix up and a brand new restaurant is coming at wharf. Big things are happening in Black River…the home of tourism on the south coast,” added Green.
The rebirth of the historically rich south-central town and its potential for greater heritage tourism is expected to include vast digital transformation, such as the use of augmented reality for storyboards.
Green, who is also minister of agriculture, fisheries and mining, is aiming for his third term as MP in the constituency.
The seat, which is considered a weathervane constituency, saw its largest margin of victory since 1989 when Green defeated the People’s National Party (PNP) candidate Ewan Stephenson (deceased) by 2,090 votes in 2020. In 2016, Green defeated former PNP MP Hugh Buchanan by 2,057 votes.
According to Green, improvements have been made to the police station, hospital, fire station, and high school in Black River.
“In all their years they [PNP] have nothing to show for the capital of St Elizabeth. Since I have been MP we renovated the police station. We built a brand new block at the Black River High School to take it off the shift system. We upgraded the fire station,” he said.
Green said the Black River Hospital has become a tourist attraction with its state-of-the-art entrance.
“We have done so much work on that hospital. If you have anybody who is sick and you see how we have transformed the accident and emergency from benches to nice chairs and air conditioning; how we have transformed the front of the hospital, so much so that now tourists come to the hospital to stand up at the front and take pictures,” he said.
“We have built a brand new sidewalk from Black River High School leading to the hospital, and if you don’t know, we have a new central air-conditioning unit installed in the hospital. We came and found the hospital as a type C hospital. I can now advise you that the Black River Hospital is a type B hospital doing more services for the people of St Elizabeth,” added Green.