Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Profile on Donald Buchanan
Observer Reporter
Saturday, July 13, 2002

Donald Buchanan

With talk of a general election in the air, the Jamaica Observer's Western Bureau will help you get to know the candidates in this part of the island.

Who are the candidates and why should you vote for them?

This week, meet the People's National Party's Danny Buchanan.

Name: Donald Barrington Buchanan

Date of Birth: September 28, 1942

Constituency: South-Western St Elizabeth

This 59 year-old trade unionist/politician is married and is father to six children -- four boys and two girls.

Buchanan was born at Little Park in St Elizabeth and attended the Pedro Plains, Brywood and Moreland Hill Primary Schools. He received his secondary education at the Excelsior High School in Kingston before going on to Walgrove College and the Trade Union Institute of the University of the West Indies.

Later, he attended the Front Royal Trade Union Institute at Virginia in the US.

He has been affiliated with the PNP since as early 1954 when he was a 12 year-old schoolboy serving as campaigner for F L B Evans in Western Westmoreland and B B Coke in South St Elizabeth.

Buchanan later served as councillor in the Pedro Plains Division in St Elizabeth between 1974 and 1977 and as deputy mayor of Black River between 1975 and 1976.

He became Member of Parliament (MP) for South-Western St Elizabeth on February 9, 1989. On March 30, 1993 he was re-elected as MP and then again on December 18, 1997.

He was appointed Minister of Labour and Social Security in 2000, after a stint as state minister. He has also been the junior minister in the Ministries of Finance and Planning, Environment and Public Service as well as the Ministry of Information and Public Service.

Then, earlier this year, Buchanan was appointed Minister of Water and Housing by Prime Minister PJ Patterson following the scandal surrounding government's Operation PRIDE housing programme that forced the resignation of MP for Central Westmoreland, Karl Blythe.

Buchanan now answers the question, "Why should I vote for you?"

"No MP in the history of South-West St Elizabeth has brought the levels of development to that constituency that I have brought over these last three terms. And therefore, three good terms deserve a fourth term.

"We now have 34 basic schools, 13 primary schools, five all-age schools and two high schools. We have three vocational training institutions, including the Black River HEART vocational training institution, which the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) closed in 1981 and I reopened in 1991.

This is one area where we have brought a greater level of development, a better quality of education for our children and young people in South-West St Elizabeth than at any other time in our history.

"In terms of infrastructure development, where we had 26 telephones in the constituency when I became MP, we now have more than 4,000 land lines and 10,000 to 12,000 cellular telephones that service the constituency.

"We have had just phenomenal expansion of electricity in areas like Forest Mountain, Hodges Land, Round Hill, Parottee Beach. Everywhere you can think of, we have been expanding electricity," he said.

"The Newell/New Combe Valley water supply, the Carter Wood supply that we are now bringing on stream. All of these are solid achievements in the constituency.

When it comes to road development, the highway from Pedro Cross to Treasure Beach, the highway from Parottee to Crane Road... all of these are new, phenomenal developments that have taken place.

The fact is that never before in the history of South-West St Elizabeth have you seen anything that is taking place right now... We are going to be barber-greening all of the main thoroughfares in the town of Black River and in the Lower Works housing scheme, Lovers Lane and West Street. We are going to be rehabilitating the Black River bridge to make it a sound, safe structure for the next 50 to 100 years. What we have done there is just extraordinary and phenomenal."

Added the minister: "All over the constituency you now have the several towers that brings telecommunication to the constituency. Name it, we have done it. Sports development? That is we again. We now have some 18 major playing fields that we have developed over the period of time in the constituency. We have sponsored sporting activities at the primary school level, the high school level, the club level in cricket, football, basketball. We are doing everything to develop the quality of life in the constituency. It is as simple as that."