Sat | Sep 19, 2020

‘Fagan strong!’ - Three-time MP dismisses critics who say he is on shaky ground

Published:Monday | August 10, 2020 | 12:05 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
Colin Fagan, member of parliament for St Catherine South East, says that the construction of a sixth-form block at Bridgeport High School is among his many achievements.
Colin Fagan, member of parliament for St Catherine South East, says that the construction of a sixth-form block at Bridgeport High School is among his many achievements.

Colin Fagan, the member of parliament (MP) for St Catherine South East who has beaten back three challenges at the national polls, says those who believe that he is on shaky ground are in for a rude awakening in the next general election.

In what is shaping up to be an intense political showdown, Fagan, the incumbent, is going up against the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Robert ‘Big Rob’ Miller, a man who political pundits believe could give the sitting MP a run for his money.

Not perturbed by the little more than 500-vote lead in the 2016 general election, Fagan sent a terse message to his opponent: “The only thing I will tell Big Rob at this time is that Fagan is strong!

“I am pretty confident at this time that support for me in this constituency is overwhelming,” Fagan told The Gleaner at his constituency office in Independence City, Portmore.

Asked why the people of St Catherine South East should give him a fourth term, Fagan said: “They know me. They can trust me, and I have served well.”

Further, he said that his constituents view him as a man of integrity and are willing to give him the nod again.

“They know that I have served the people well,” he maintained.

Commenting on some of his achievements, Fagan said that he had established a new block for sixth-form students at Bridgeport High School.

“Students from across the constituency would have benefited from my education programme,” said Fagan, who claimed that many professionals who received assistance had returned to express gratitude for the support.

“We have been involved in training programmes through HEART Trust/NTA and the Portmore Community College,” he said.

Fagan told The Gleaner that an important achievement that had gone unnoticed by many was the improvement of treatment plants for more than 200,000 residents in Portmore. The MP indicated that for years, he had been lobbying the Government to improve the sewerage facilities in Portmore.

Two of those, the Independence City and Bridgeport wastewater treatment plants, have been decommissioned as they were in a state of disrepair. The other two are the Hamilton Gardens and Caymanas Gardens treatment plants.

These treatment plants were replaced by a $2.3-billion Portmore Sewerage Project. Work on the project, which started in 2014, facilitated the transfer of effluent from the pumping station in Portmore to the Soapberry wastewater treatment plant in St Catherine.

Fagan noted that the offensive odour that emanated from the sewerage plants had resulted in great discomfort for Portmore residents.

“In fact, if you can remember, my opponent campaigned against me about the sewage system sometime ago because raw sewage was entering into the canal running across Portsmouth and into Waterford. That is no more the case,” Fagan said.

BREAKAWAY WALL

He also said that a breakaway wall that ran behind Armada Court in Portmore was a source of concern to homeowners, who felt that their houses were exposed to flooding from a nearby canal. Fagan said it was through his intervention that a solid wall was built to prevent water from overflowing into the homes of residents.

He said that all the divisions in St Catherine South East have benefited from his sports programme.

“Our most recent project is a jogging trail, perhaps the only one like that in Jamaica,” he said, pointing out that the facility was recently installed in Bridgeport.

On the issue of water, Fagan said that his constituency is now boasting increased inflows from the Rio Cobre.

“I have ensured that we are putting a new system in place to provide increased water supplies into St Catherine South East, to the extent where the pressure that comes into Portmore has to be turned down because it will burst the pipes,” the member of parliament told The Gleaner.

With COVID-19 putting a damper on traditional political campaign activities, Fagan said he has resorted to social media, as well as keeping in touch with the church community and interacting with people in the constituency, while observing Ministry of Health protocols.

However, he said he has other approaches in reaching out to voters but will hold them close to his chest, noting that he could not disclose all his campaign strategies.

Labelling himself “a Portmore man”, the St Catherine South East MP said that he has worked hard not only for the constituency, but for the people of the wider Sunshine City.

“I would love to win. I believe that the people will vote for me another time,” he said.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com