Popcaan is using his influence to help in the development of his home parish St. Thomas.
Andre Sutherland, the St. Thomas citizen, better known as Popcaan, showed us that it’s deeper than the music. He is collaborating with the government and other stakeholders to develop an Urban Center in Morant Bay, St Thomas. Prime Minister Holness described him as a “strong vocal advocate for the upliftment of St Thomas.” Popcaan also pledged his full allegiance to the cause imploring the Prime Minister to involve him in youth projects.
“Anything weh yuh need mi to assist yuh wid, with the youths dem, mi ready,” Popcaan told PM Holness.
“There’s a new energy flowing through Jamaica; we can see it in the buzz of activities taking place and in the optimism of our people,” the Prime Minister wrote in a message on IG. “St Thomas is now part of this new wave as after years of little to no development its time has come! Thank you to @popcaanmusic and the people of St. Thomas for believing in our promise to redevelop your parish. #NewJamaica #FirmAndStrong.”
The Urban Center will comprise of business process outsourcing companies (call centers) among many other job opportunities. The 365,000 square foot property will house the St Thomas Municipal Corporation; a town hall; conference center; justice square, which will include a family court and parish court; tax office; Registrar General’s Department branch; and a Passport, Citizenship and Immigration Agency (PICA) Office.
This project is creating a hub for St Thomas’ municipal authorities. It is being built on the grounds of a factory out of operation since 1997. Holness also spoke on the influence artists have and suggested they use it in a more positive manner. He stated “You are a very powerful voice and if you say, ‘look, a prosperity we seh, a development we seh,’ a lot a youth wi just follow you because Popcaan seh suh,” Holness said. The artiste replied, saying, “I rather use my influence to do that.”
It is not usual to see government officials and dancehall artistes collaborating on projects. I hope this will be one in a long line of them. Dancehall has played an essential roll in the country’s development, and by the looks of it will continue to do so. Prime Minister Holness seems to be on the trail as he recited one of Popcaan’s popular tunes. “Give me the energy mi need Jah, you keep me firm and strong,” Holness recited.