Home - The Star
November 29, 2012
Star Features


Journey to Old Harbour
Rasbert Turner, Star Writer

Margarite Nattie shows a fish she is scaling.

The community of Old Harbour Bay in St Catherine is renowned for having one of the island's largest fishing villages. The community has faced its challenges, especially with natural disasters, but still remains a special place for many residents.

THE STAR visited the community recently and made a stop at the village and observed a wide array of activities - the boats coming and going, vendors and fisherfolk peddling their wares, and women doing all they could to scale and clean fishes for those who needed their services.

''We are here trying to survive the beach here, but, right now, we are in need of work for the youth in the community," Margarite Nattie, one of the women who scale fish told THE STAR. "Every day you here, is one more person trying to go on a boat to fish, as nutten else not available.''

It was revealed that the business of fishing has become a very challenging one with the importation of fish, conch and other such items flooding the market at a cheaper price.

''The village has come a very long way in terms of infrastructure such as proper toilet facilities. We also have 40 shops here and we are trying to regularise the water and lighting systems," Banton Henry, president of the Old Harbour Bay Fisherfolk Council, said. "Plus, we are working with the National Solid Waste Management Authority in cleaning the beach.''

meaningful venture

It was also revealed that plans with the St Catherine Parish Council to establish a market for ground provisions and other products were in an advanced stage. Henry said the 25-member council will be working to make the area a worthwhile and meaningful venture.

Another section of Old Harbour Bay is decorated with bars, shops, restaurants, schools, and a wide array of public transportation. However, unemployment the residents said, is crippling the potential of the area.

''We have been at this location for over 80 years and, although we've changed the name, we continue to contribute to the building of the community through education of the hundreds of children who pass through these doors,'' Evon Bartley, principal of Baptist Bay Early Childhood Institution, said.

''Education is the way forward, but we are finding that it is being affected by the high unemployment rate in the community. This has resulted in parents finding it more challenging to school their children. Help is needed as, when I attended school here, it was much easier,'' Ahsaki Bailey-Gordon, a past student, now teacher at the institution revealed.

The community is blessed with four housing solutions - New Harbour Village Phases One and Two, Blackwood Gardens and Bourkfield Housing Scheme, along with other individual houses. It, however, has the potential for growth in terms of housing.

At the nearby Old Harbour Bay Police Station, it was revealed that crime remains at a tolerable level, and the police remain resolute to keep it that way.

The clean streets of Old Harbour Bay. - Rasbert Turner photos

The Old Harbour Bay Police Station.

A section of the fishing village.

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