Cut St Thomas from Jamaica - Youth tired of parish being ignored
Omar Ryan, one of St Thomas' brightest youngsters, feels the parish should become a breakaway republic, arguing that it is unfair for St Thomas to be giving up all its resources and getting little in return.
"Sever our current ties to the country and fence off St Thomas from Jamaica officially, and let them pay us daily if they want our water, aggregate, sand, food, marl and limestone and whatever other resources. We have resources to build a new country in the east. Plus, we have a port to export and import from other countries in Port Morant," Ryan, a University of the West Indies (UWI) graduate, said.
Ryan's militancy has been fuelled by what he perceives as the failure of the political representatives to provide basic infrastructure for the people of St Thomas, including roads. There have been about half a dozen protests for better roads in St Thomas in recent times, and Ryan wants them to continue. In fact, he is rallying fellow residents to skip work and school for two days in the hope that the authorities will respond to their cries.
"We haven't agreed on a date yet, but we want to give the people about two weeks so that we can get the message out to everybody," Ryan said.
Ryan said that the first of the mass meetings that would be held across the parish to rally support is slated for tomorrow at the Rudolph Elder Park in the parish capital, Morant Bay.
RAMP UP PRESSURE
"So the protest that we are planning is that we want all public passenger vehicles to remain off the road as a sign of protest, and persons from the parish - whether you work in the parish or outside of it - to stay away from work for two days to ramp up pressure on the authorities," Ryan said.
"St Thomas is a place where a lot of resources, like sand, are from. The sand can be used for the development of roads. We produce the best sand, and we see where this high-quality sand is being trucked out of the parish to build hotels in other parishes, and it is not being used in the parish that it is from to fix the roads."