Optimism high as work resumes at Alpart
The reopening of the Alpart/JISCO Alumina Refinery in Nain is forecasted to generate increased economic activities for the residents of St. Elizabeth once the plant becomes fully operational.
The effects of the resumption of bauxite production are expected to stretch from workers who will directly benefit in terms of salaries to the restaurateurs, the operators of bars and the supermarket owners, which are in communities such as Nain, Junction, Myers Hill, Coma Pen and others in close vincinty to the plant.
"Those communities will see more of the direct benefit because there are a number of persons from those communities who are now working the plant," Member of Parliament for South East St. Elizabeth, Frankly Witter said.
When Alpart closed its doors in 2009 due to the global economic meltdown, hundreds of persons lost jobs and the likelihood of countless others were disrupted. However, a new day is drawing for bauxite and Witter said optimism in St Elizabeth is high.
The Member of Parliament said that some young adults have also been targeted as a group that will benefit from the plant's reopening.
"There are a number of young persons from those communities who would have been trained at HEART and are now at the plant doing on-the-job training and, therefore, those communities will reap more of the direct benefits as it relates to employment," Witter said.
While, St. Elizabeth is widely known for the cultivation of agricultural produce, Witter expects a stiff rivalry between bauxite and farming to determine which will be the greater income earner for the parish.
"South St. Elizabeth have always been engaging in agriculture activities. We produce most of the fruits, vegetables and seasons that you see spread right across Jamaica in terms of supply," he said.
"Farming is really number one. Now that we have bauxite back it really will be a tussle see which one is number one and which one is number two," Witter added.