OPEN LETTER To Hon. Daryl Matthew

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
Matthew

OPEN LETTER TO HON. DARYL MATTHEW

Dear Minister Matthew,I extend my deepest gratitude for heeding my call to establish a police presence in the cherished community of St. John’s Rural South. Your decision marks a significant step toward addressing our long-standing concerns for safety and security.

However, the manner in which this initiative has been executed leaves much to be desired, casting a shadow over its well-intended purpose. Introducing a police force into our community by merely retrofitting a shipping container previously placed on your property, is a decision that feels both disrespectful and demeaning. This action not only undermines the dignity of St. John’s Rural South but also diminishes the critical role of our police services, who are dedicated to protecting our community around the clock, every day of the year.

Law enforcement requires critical resources to be effective. The provision of a mere container, lacking the necessary amenities and space, is a far cry from the requirements needed to do their duties and meet the needs of the community.

Your approach, characterized by a recurring reliance on containers for infrastructure projects, suggests a lack of foresight and a disregard for purpose-built solutions. This is particularly disheartening given the sturdy foundation that was laid for what could have been our community center—a foundation that, ironically, now supports the container designated for police use. That demolished structure could have served as a vibrant hub for our youth and elderly, fostering a sense of community and belonging.

St. John’s Rural South is in dire need of comprehensive development plans that extend beyond makeshift solutions. We demand a police station that rightfully addresses the needs of our officers. We need infrastructure that ensures safety and connectivity, recreational spaces for our youth and areas for our elderly to gather, ensuring they are neither isolated nor fearful in their own homes.

We envision a community where parents can be confident that their children will be safe and can engage in meaningful activities. Our seniors must also feel valued and our streets need better illumination, to ensure a greater sense of security in all areas of the community.

Unfortunately, the temporary measures you have implemented do not demonstrate a commitment to improving the quality of life St. John’s Rural South. It raises critical questions about your vision and plans for our constituency. We have yet to see you engage with us directly, seeking our input or discussing your strategies for our community’s future. Development should be a collaborative effort, one that values the voices and needs of its constituents.

As we edge closer to the next general election, let me remind you, Minister Matthew, that the community of St. John’s Rural South is closely watching. Our patience for inadequate representation and overlooked needs has dwindled. We are resolute in our demand for quality leadership that prioritizes inclusive and thoughtful planning, one that respects and uplifts every member of our community.

Consider this an urgent call to action. We implore you to reevaluate your approach and truly invest in the well-being and future of St. John’s Rural South. Your inability to listen and adapt, to genuinely serve the needs of our community, will no longer be tolerated. There’s quality representation on the horizon. You were elected to serve and we demand better.

Jermaine N. EdwardsCommunity AdvocateSt. John’s Rural South

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