Portmore Municipal Council
The Municipality of Portmore, located in the parish of St. Catherine in Jamaica is a relatively new entity – created by an Act of Parliament on June 19, 2003. It was the culmination of nine years of agitation by the citizens who petitioned the Government for this status. Portmore before its municipal status was administered by the St. Catherine Parish Council.
The Municipality has been described as “new and different” as there are some unique features to the Portmore Municipality.
- It is the first time in Jamaica, and indeed the English speaking Caribbean that the Mayor is directly elected by the people.
- It is the first time in Jamaica that two local authorities have been established in one Parish.
- Another first is the establishment of the Portmore Citizens Advisory Council (PCAC), a legal body of Council which comprises representatives of civil society. The PCAC possesses the right and power to audit the Municipal Council and appoint members to the Committees of Council with full voting rights, thereby ensuring greater accountability and citizens’ participation in governance.There are eleven (11) elected Councillors who along with the Mayor comprise the Portmore Municipal Council.
HISTORY OF THE COUNCIL
Brief History of Portmore
The first known settlers in the area now referred to as Portmore were the Tainos in 900– 1200AD. This was followed by the occupation by the Spanish who established Passagefort, the first formally settled township in the latter part of the fifteenth century. Passagefort also served as a major transhipment point between the old capital Spanish Town and the harbour at Port Royal. In 1655, the English landed in Passage Fort and later captured the island. They established forts along the coast such as the historic Fort Augusta, which now houses a Women’s Correctional Facility.
The area referred to as Salt Pond Pen (between Passage Fort and Naggo Head) became known as Portmore by 1915. The inhabitants at the time were mainly farmers, fishermen and plantation workers and soon, most of the area was covered with banana farms, a lucrative business at the time.
Between the 1950s and 1960s, development proceeded at a rapid pace as developers sought alternate housing sources for the ever growing population of the capital city, Kingston. The first housing scheme, Independence City was built and the construction of the 3-mile Causeway bridge linking Portmore to Kingston across the Hunt’s Bay started in 1969.
Portmore – An opportunity for Business
Portmore was largely regarded as a dormitory community as most of the citizens travelled daily to the capital city, Kingston where their jobs were located. Some 60 percent of all jobs in the Kingston Metropolitan area are held by residents of Portmore – from top management to blue collar workers. Increasingly however, the commercial boom in Portmore is creating a growing number of jobs within the Municipality.
An increasing number of companies are now positioning themselves in Portmore to cash in on its over 300,000 plus population which is the fastest growing in the English speaking Caribbean. Financial institutions, Educational institutions, commercial giants are all capitalizing on the business opportunities in the “Sunshine City”.
Portmore offers inducement to new business operators. It has a large, well educated and trained work force; relatively good infrastructure – roads, water, electricity and telephones and is in close proximity to the commercial centres of Kingston, Spanish Town and the Port of Kingston.
Jamaica’s fastest growing community offers ideal opportunities for tourism, the entertainment industry, light industry, sports development and fishing.