The core of our belief is the improvement of the lives of the families of St. Peter’s. This is our dream. My job, my pledge, is to bring it to reality. We shall build a house of many rooms. Its foundations will be the St. Peter’s Trust Foundation, a non-political, non-profit organization, the beneficiaries of which shall be all of the residents of St. Peter’s It will be led and administered by a Board of Trustees, comprising residents of high standing, impeccable character and integrity, and a track record of success and leadership in various spheres of social and economic endeavor. Already, certain pieces of land have been earmarked for various community programmes. These lands will be held in Trust by that Foundation. It will solicit seed financing from myself and other private benefactors and benevolent organizations.
We shall then commence the process of bringing to fruition the plans and vision of former Representatives and other experts such as those who authored the Parham Development Plan, sponsored by the Organisation of American States. Let me now share with you some of my ideas for each community beautiful town of Parham. My first job is to raise the necessary funding, on very attractive terms, to commence a total modernization of the town’s physical landscape. We shall lay the foundation for public and private sector large-scale investment in tourism and recreational projects. My vision in this regard is two-fold. I wish to create lasting economic and employment opportunities for the people of St. Peter’s, and to return Parham to its former glory in the eyes of all Antiguans and Barbudans.
I believe that Parham can become, in ten years, the North-East service centre for tourism, especially eco-tourism. It would be a perfect complement to the existing North-South axis of Dickenson Bay to Falmouth on the West side of Antigua. It will rival English Harbour in boating facilities, but it will surpass the west coast in many other areas. Parham could be integrated into a tourism development programme which would be anchored by community-based, “grass-roots” small businesses. The people of St. Peter’s have the capital, the expertise, and, most importantly, the desire to participate in this development. It will empower the whole community, and distribute more widely the benefits of tourism. It would be demand-oriented, not imposed on our community. This type of development and growth is sustainable; it will not, like many of our “screw-driver” factories disappear after the Government concessions run out in a few years
But most important of all, there will be no displacement. The area will not be “taken over” by some big developer. It will not be re-defined. It will be re-vitalized by the people, for the people. We will welcome all: tourists, expatriates and Antiguans. This project will encompass the development and improvement of many areas: restoration of the historic buildings on Market Street, new housing, modern shopping, restaurants, Post-Office, a Government building, garbage collection, APUA services, hotels on Crabb’s Peninsular, improved public transportation, re-vitalising the harbour to the required standard so as to become a Port of Entry into Antigua. There is no reason why small guest-houses could not be established by the residents of this area to satisfy a niche market in the tourist trade for visitors who do not necessarily want big hotels, but would be content with local, hospitable accommodation. An entire craft market can be developed which will bring people off the main road and into Parham to share in the life and liveliness of this community. There are things for visitors to do here unlike elsewhere in Antigua. We can offer boat cruises in some of the clearest waters; a large sheltered harbour on the Atlantic side, rich with ecological diversity; day trips to the nearby islets; and the enjoyment of the history of this old town, rich with over four hundred years of our cultural heritage.
Further enhancement of Parham
In the community of Parham, I propose to set down a School of Information and Technology, where residents of all ages can be tutored in the unfolding technologies of computer science, computer programming and computer building and repair. There will be free classes for those who wish to learn to use the computer. There will be a multi-media library in this facility. I intend to build a gymnasium fully equipped with state-of-the-art exercise equipment. There will be a modern basketball court. The football field will be substantially refurbished with stands and floodlights.
For younger children and infants, we will have a new day-care centre, equipped and staffed with child-care workers. For the elderly and others in need, I will continue and expand the Meals on Wheels programme. With respect to other infra-structural and community projects, the upgrading of residential Parham can be viewed as work in progress. Within the last term of the ALP administration, we have succeeded in landing the fisheries complex, repaired and upgraded several road surfaces, and provided access to a more reliable supply of electricity and water. We intend to upgrade sporting and recreational facilities, and to create scores of meaningful employment opportunities. It is fair to say that unemployment is at an all time low in the Parham community. If elected, I promise in the coming term to continue and improve all of our previous efforts.