MILE GULLY, Manchester – Manchester North Western Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) representative Damion Young has suggested that the constituency’s Member of Parliament (MP) Mikael Phillips approach the private sector for assistance over the collapsed Troy Bridge.
“The Troy bridge was washed out so many years ago; it is true that he [Phillips] has talked and all he has been doing is talk, talk, talk. There has been no action and the people, I recognise, are tired of the talking and they want action. He could have approached the private sector a long time ago and say, ‘Let us put a temporary bridge, even a foot bridge, until the Government completes the procurement process’,” Young told the JLP’s Manchester North Western constituency conference in Mile Gully on Sunday.
“Such man talk about the prime minister must not come back to North West Manchester when the Troy bridge is being opened. A who tell such man that he will be around when the Troy bridge is opened?” added Young.
Since the Troy bridge collapsed in August 2021 schoolchildren and other residents have been using makeshift methods, including a fallen tree and a zipline comprising a rope and bucket to cross the river. The risky makeshift footbridge connects residents in the neighbouring communities of Cowick Park in north-western Manchester to Troy in southern Trelawny. Since the bridge collapsed, residents have had to use a 15-mile alternative commute for safety.
Young, who lost to Phillips in the September 2020 general election, is vying to win the only remaining seat now held by the People’s National Party in Manchester.
“The people of North West Manchester need deliverance. The people of North West Manchester need a change. Two hundred and twenty million dollars [has been allocate through the Constituency Development Fund] yet the roads are overgrown with bush. The road leading to Comfort Hall is a disaster with potholes. They fixed one side and left one side unfixed,” claimed Young.
He referred to Phillips as a “cry-baby” over the latter’s complaints, even as chairman of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee.
“The people don’t want no more cry-baby. The people want sound leadership in North West Manchester,” said Young.
The aspirant said his vision is to invest in education for constituents, and pointed to his Central Jamaica Social Development Initiative (CJSDI) as an entrepreneurial boost for young people.
“We have trained over 150 youth in entrepreneurship empowering them to run their own businesses with their business plans in hand getting their businesses registered with the companies office of Jamaica,” said Young.
He added that he wants to develop an agro processing plant to employ more than 50 people.
“I will unearth the opportunities in agro processing because that is where real income lies. I will be opening a potato processing plant here in the Mile Gully Division, where we can make potato chips and wedges, potato flour and package it for local and the international market,” he said.
“Sweet potato grows in abundance in North West Manchester and we want to value add it and send it overseas and preserve it and have food security in our country,” he added.
Young said he also has plans to open a juice factory in Huntley.
“The juicers and osmosis machines are rotting away that taxpayers money purchased so many years ago; it is a shame to see those equipment laying wasted and turning to dust, if you don’t believe me go there and see for yourselves,” he said.
Addressing the long-standing issue of lack of access to potable water was also among Young’s promises.
“As the unofficial capital of North West Manchester, Mile Gully continues to be without potable water. How can you have this in modern days? This is holding back the town and condemning it to a forsaken status. We want to bring water to Mile Gully and surrounding communities, so that investors can come, whether with fast food chains, [or] real estate development, so this town can be transformed into a modern, attractive, wealthy place,” said Young.