Sunday, 23 June 2013


On a warm summer evening decades ago a business family had just finished having dinner.The women were inside making ladies talk, the kids were in the den and the men were on the porch enjoying the evening breeze.

All the brothers had businesses in Kingston and St.Andrew except one who had a farm in St.Thomas.The topical issue on the porch this evening was housing.  

The construction company in the brother’s group had wet-ted it’s appetite with two major projects; one in Harbor View and the other at Mona. Both housing estates were constructed for the growing middle class of the day.

The availability of land for development in Kingston would be a concern going forward. If cheap land could be found close to Kingston and innovation employed, the vast army of low income earners would  have a chance to own a home. Also, there was the issue growing a construction company, money had to be made.

Innovation came in the form of the prefabricated method of house construction and Portmore provided the land. Old mass Joe went to work,the Causeway was constructed, and what resulted was the largest housing estate in the Anglophone Caribbean.  

Since the genesis of  Portmore’s housing boom, numerous developers, public and private, have made St Catherine the location of choice; mainly because of it’s proximity to Jamaica’s capital, Kingston.The availability of large tracts of flat,relatively cheap land must also have been an influential factor.

Spanish Town is the Capital of St. Catherine. Walking through the Old Square is like stepping back in time, its beautiful.The layout of the whole town was fitting for 1913 but not 2013.The town needs to step forward in time. At all cost the old Georgian square must be preserved,but the rest of the town needs to be brought into this century.  

Costing for units in  the newer housing estates around St. Catherine are coming in at between six to eleven million.In Jamaica that range covers the full spectrum  of the middle class.Spanish town was not design in terms of layout  for motorized vehicular traffic.Two gentlemen moving in one accord on a horse drawn cart would be fine considering the width of the road. A 2013 Honda Accord is a whole different kettle of Rio Cobre netted fish.

The commercial and recreational  needs of St. Catherine’s growing middle class are not been met by the present capital. Due to  its historical value The Heritage Trust will not allow any wholesale restructuring of this Georgian Gem.

BUILD A NEW CAPITAL FROM SCRATCH.Employ all the modern Built Environment techniques, in my mind this is the solution.Money will always be a consideration, the question is what is the cost of the frustration when trying to function in a place like Spanish Town on a weekend or any day of the week for that matter.


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