St Bess MP wants agricultural college in constituency
Member of Parliament (MP) for North East St Elizabeth, Delroy Slowley, said he wants to build an agriculture college in his constituency to help bolster literacy among the youth.
Slowley, in an exclusive interview with THE STAR, said that he has already held talks with Education Minister Fayval Williams about the project, which he said would be the first of its kind in the region.
"I see greatness in every youth I come across in my constituency and I am not afraid to tell them. Our young people, they are the future, and what I want to do is to engage them more in training and getting certified. There is no tertiary level institution within North East St Elizabeth," he said.
The centre is proposed to be built on 17 acres of land at the now-defunct Gilnock Sports Complex, in Santa Cruz. Slowley, a first-term MP and businessman, said the centre will serve multiple purposes.
"We want to have a training centre where we have training for heavy duty equipment workers and mechanic drivers. There is a shortage of heavy duty operators and there is a huge demand for articulated drivers in North America, Canada especially," he said. "So we want to have that going along with an agricultural school training because there are a large number of agricultural producers here but they don't have the kind of technological assistance that they need to help us more."
"The land is there and the human elements are there waiting to be tapped into and the rate and direction in which crime is going, these are some of the solutions. I have a passion to change lives in my constituency and if it involves me doing it physically, I have the equipment," he added.
The constituency boasts one of the lowest numbers in crime stats across the island. Slowley believes that this is made possible because most citizens try to be independent and share a healthy relationship with the police. He believes that with the right system in place, youth in his constituency can move to higher heights.
"There are a lot of idle youths around and there are some of them that are falling in the cracks but I don't know if it is that other jurisdictions have far more idle youths than what we have but one idle youth is one too many. Most of our youths are engaged in farming and the construction industry is also doing very well down here and many times you can't even find tradesmen," Slowley said.
He said that Williams likes the idea for the college and added that he's been in touch the relevant authorities in terms of getting access to the land.
"I want to give back. I am a successful businessman because of my people and I want to give back and leave a lasting legacy, because I don't want to remain in politics for long and time is of the essence for me. But when I am departed from politics, I want to ensure that these talks come to fruition as soon as possible," he said.