During the escalating controversy surrounding the proposed elevation of Portmore to Jamaica’s 15th parish, State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign and Foreign Trade, Alando Terrelonge, took a stand, vehemently defending the government’s relationship with the diaspora. Terrelonge dismissed assertions made by Dr. Francis, emphasizing that the government maintains an excellent working relationship with the diaspora, insisting that Dr. Francis’s comments do not reflect the views of the Council. The Portmore Parish debate continues to dominate the political arena, triggering a cascade of condemnations. Opposition Leader Mark Golding released a scathing letter yesterday, accusing the government of selfishness and partisanship. Golding decried the efforts to make Portmore the 15th parish, characterizing the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) as narrow-minded and self-serving.

Critics argue that the government’s push to upgrade Portmore’s status is an attempt to secure political control of the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation. Dr. Canute Thompson, a professor at the University of the West Indies and a political commentator, joined the dissenters, branding the government’s motives as both selfish and dishonorable. Despite the growing opposition, the JLP appears united on the Portmore front. At a constituency conference in East Central St. Catherine in mid-November, MP for South Central St. Catherine, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, expressed confidence that Portmore would become a parish before the upcoming local government elections in February.

Recent events have intensified the controversy. At an event in St. Catherine under the new Social Housing Programme, Prime Minister Andrew Holness and St. Catherine Southern MP Fitz Jackson engaged in a testy exchange over a document submitted by the Local Government Ministry. Jackson argued that the proposal, as it stands, would disenfranchise parts of his constituency, leaving it without representation in the lower house. Holness dismissed the claim as political maneuvering. Professor Thompson, a former consultant of the People’s National Party (PNP), noted the irony in the political exchange, suggesting that the pot might be calling the kettle black. Despite attempts to seek comments on the matter, Information Minister Robert Morgan declined to provide a statement. The Portmore Parish controversy continues to unfold, with political tensions escalating and diverse voices adding to the chorus of criticism against the government’s proposed move. The nation watches closely as the debate over the fate of Portmore unfolds in the lead-up to the local government elections. Stay tuned for further developments.

Reporter: Ramon Gordon 

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