Jamaica Observer / MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Those visiting Greenvale for the first time, or even those making a return visit, are in for a pleasant surprise. The Somerset Drive entrance to the community located west of the Mandeville town centre has been transformed. Broken sidewalks, dilapidated walls and unsightly zinc fences have been replaced with newly paved surfaces, artistic cut-stone patterns and attractive picket fencing.

A large, well-designed sign welcomes visitors to the community and decorative vegetation has also been planted.

The work, carried out by local artisans and labourers, is the result of a beautification project funded by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and Member of Parliament Mikael Phillips’s Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

Phillips told Greenvale residents and visitors at a recent ribbon-cutting ceremony that the project formed part of a five-year beautification programme for the entire community. Over time, the entrances to all streets, lanes and residential areas in Greenvale would be similarly treated, he said.

The MP said the mission was to help build community pride and challenge the negative perception many have of Greenvale.

“We want that when persons come to Greenvale they see that Greenvale is like any other community in Jamaica,” he said.

He urged residents to pay close attention to maintaining and improving on what has been achieved.

“Don’t expect me every month to pay a man to come clean up and weed out. It’s the community own now, so if you pass and see paper take it up. It’s for you to do your part,” he told residents who voiced agreement.

Community leader Booker Levy said the “uplifting” project showed “class” and he hailed the MP for his initiative.

Twinned to the beautification project was the official launch of a homework centre for the children of Greenvale at the community centre. That project, led by the Manchester Peace Coalition and community groups, is in its early stages of development with some equipment including computers in place.

Phillips said the homework centre was especially important since most children in the community had no access “to basic things like the Internet”. He said the aim was to quickly introduce Internet access at the centre as well as specialist teachers.

Head of the Manchester Peace Coalition Dr Clifton Reid said his organisation was quick to help with development of the homework centre because of the conviction “that education is the poor man’s ladder out of poverty…”

He said the peace coalition was anxious to work with the community “to see how we can move forward”. The organisation also wanted to promote uniformed youth groups to help cultivate respect, good manners and values, and was committed to projects to promote positive parenting, Reid said.

Opposition Leader and president of the Peoples National Party Dr Peter Phillips, who is also the father of the Manchester North Western Member of Parliament said projects such as the beautification project and the homework centre were good examples of community self-help.

Crucially, he said, the successful building of a nation required that people help each other whenever there is need. Regarding the homework centre, the opposition leader said all communities in Jamaica should have one “to help young people… every Jamaican child deserves the opportunity to get first-class results [and] you can only get there with the kind of partnership we are seeing here”.

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