Mandeville mayor defends council; blasts MP Rhoda Crawford

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell is defending the Manchester Municipal Corporation following comments made by Manchester Central Member of Parliament Rhoda Crawford over traffic improvement and drainage projects here.

“Two weeks ago, the Member of Parliament for Central Manchester made some statements and in her argument she stated that we have sat here in the Manchester Parish Council and have done nothing regarding traffic and flood management in this town. I also see where in Parliament she stated that among her achievements is the female ward at the infirmary,” Mitchell told councillors at Thursday’s sitting of the council.

“I want to say for the record, on the 20th of February 2018 she was not MP yet,” he said before reading a letter from the National Works Agency (NWA).

“The NWA will be doing the drainage component of the work on Ward Avenue in the sum of $18 million and the work should commence on March 30, 2018. I don’t know if that is an achievement for the MP, because we can recall prior to 2018 that we started first on the drainage features on Ward Avenue,” Mitchell said.

Crawford, while addressing a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) meeting in Mile Gully last month, took credit for Greater Mandeville Traffic Management System.

“For years dem sit down in the parish council term after term and they see the traffic congestion and dem nuh do nutten about it,” she said.

She pointed to the August 2021 announcement by minister with portfolio responsibility for works Everald Warmington regarding the traffic management system, which she said she lobbied for.

“This traffic management system is not just about changing lanes and putting up new signalised lights; drain systems are being fixed. You remember when rain used to fall [and] at Ward Avenue in front of ScotiaBank across from Fesco used to flood out, you notice it nuh flood again. Under this system we have seen to the installation of a new drainage system,” said Crawford.

However, Mitchell refuted Crawford’s claims, pointing to lobbies made to central Government.

“In 2017 when I wrote to Mr [EG] Hunter of the NWA and the Minister [Everald] Warmington regarding the situation we were having with the traffic and we were having those meetings. On May 1, 2017 I wrote to the minister to look at the town of Mandeville,” he said.

“It is only that the MP came at a time when the funds were being released to deal with all of these problems, so I can’t understand that we have sat here and watched nothing happen. I want to refute that,” he added.

Mitchell in July was ratified as the People’s National Party’s representative in Manchester Central, replacing former MP Peter Bunting, who lost to Crawford in the September 2020 General Election.

“We in this Manchester Parish Council have been doing a whole lot of things. We need to make sure that the Facebook page for the council is up and running and all of these things are posted because other people are taking credit for work that they are not doing,” Mitchell said.

Crawford recently said the traffic management system is nearing completion for this month.

As part of the project a one-way system is to be introduced on a section of Caledonia Road from the intersection of Caledonia Road, Manchester Road and Ward Avenue, flowing towards New Green Road where it will end.

Among the roads and intersections to be signalised under the Greater Mandeville Traffic Management System are North Race Course Road to Main Street, North Race Course Road to Caledonia Road, Villa Road to Main Street, South Race Course Road, Caledonia Road, Park Crescent, Manchester Road, Perth Road, and Greenvale Road.

Cameras and pedestrian crosswalks are to be installed as part of the project to alleviate congestion.

Mitchell said the project needs to be completed in time for the festive season.

“The only thing I am calling on the powers that be, as many people have been calling, is to have the traffic lights up at these intersections, because it is full time now. We have done all of these works now and we have had accidents at these places and we need to have it done now before the Christmas season,” he said.

“Councillors, rest assured, we will defend what we have done in the time that we have been here, be it JLP or PNP, ” added Mitchell.