Letter to the Editor: Melbourne Lights Shine Bright

Melbourne Community Feature, St James

An oasis in the middle of Salt Spring, St James is the location of this small community formerly known as Musso Land, which was renamed Melbourne Ave in the late 1970s.

A community with approximately 1000 people with a Church and a small playground which was affectionately called the Common. This tightly knit community is family oriented, populated by loving and respectable people, mainly Christians.

In the late 60s to 80s, there were church services at least twice a month on Sunday evenings on the playground. This community is approximately 50 years old and we’ve never had a capital crime against each other, we’ve had capital crimes committed by neighboring fractions and/or Police.

To us, we have the best community in Salt Spring which is the home of Everton Billy Palmer (former president of the HOA) who represented Herbert Morrison Comprehensive High in the late 1970s to early 1980s and was the goal scorer of the 1st goal for Compre against arch-rivals Cornwall College.

Melbourne is also the home of Leroy Foster, Norman Foster and Kenton Clare who all represented the National Football Team and was inspired by Billy Palmer. They have 7 National Premier League titles between them. They all learned to play football on the rocky dusty pitch on “The Common” of Melbourne Avenue.

Leroy Foster is the most decorated citizen in football, winning “DaCosta Cup” and “Oliver Shield” on live TV in 1985 and the “NPL” 10 years later with “Violet Kickers” with Melbourne teammates Andrew Harding, his brother and Kenton Clare.

Kenton Clare was a DaCosta leading marksman for 2 years running and a DaCosta cup runner-up at Compre, following the footsteps of his cousin Palmer, he was later a champion with “SEBA UNITED”. Norman Foster, Leroy’s younger brother, worked hard on the Dusty rocky pitch and made his debut in the Premier leagues.

Today our Melbourne Ave team in the St James Super Leagues still doing well with youngsters KaKa Harding (2 time DaCOSTA cup champion), Codmar and Davian leading the charge with old timer, Seph “Shubby Jack” McFarlane, who played for Frontiers in St James first division 30 years ago and still going strong today. The great “Jungle Mouth Gordon” formerly of Glendevon United of the mid-80s is a citizen of Melbourne.

Melbourne Ave field one of the top netball teams in the Bay Area, we are the home of one of Jamaica’s top netball player, Jhaniele Fowler. Jhaniele Fowler born July 21, 1989, is one of Jamaica’s best netball player and as of 2018 is a member of the West Coast Fever in the Suncorp Super Netball League. Fowler also plays domestic netball in Jamaica for the Waulgrovians club and has been a member of the Jamaica National Netball team “The Sunshine Girls” since 2010.

We are the Home of a few law enforcement officers, original Detective Terry aka “Foreigner”, Mr. Buju (rip), Mr. Gregory Chisholm and Mr. Robert Jolly. We are also the home of a few Custom officers in Ms. Thomas and Ms. Tracy Patterson. We are the home of a few teachers in Ms. Watt, Sashalee James and Briana Reid. We are also the home of Pastor Dryden, we are the home of Cassandra M Clare Lawson of Cornwall Regional Hospitals Human Resource Department for over 25 years as a Human Resource Manager.

We are the home of Janet Therese Silvera, whom has made an indelible contribution to Jamaica tourist industry in the last 24 years and now a senior Gleaner writer with the Jamaica Gleaner Limited. In the last five years, she has centered her attention on Climate Change and its effect on the environment.

As if those were not enough, Janet Silvera is one of the only certified event managers in Jamaica, having completed her certification at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She is president of the Western Jamaica Media Association (WJMA), a Director of the Press Association of Jamaica, has served on the board of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Kiwanis Club of Providence. Miss Silvera was named the Press Association of Jamaica News Journalist of the Year 2009, for the thought-provoking piece; Dad Raped Us and the 2006 American Express/Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA) awardee for Excellence in Tourism Reporting.

In 2012, she became the first Jamaican journalist to be awarded the prestigious Marcia Vickery Wallace award for journalism. The many acknowledgments of her outstanding service both locally and internationally, are a testament to the achievements of this giant in the tourism industry. Janet Silvera has indeed proven that she is more than equal to the task and will continue to bring to the industry, a unique creativity coupled with an apparently unlimited ability to achieve her goals.

We are the home of Dr. Rockie Rodney. We are the home of soon to be FIFA referees Everton “Snoopy” Cole of South Florida and Delroy “Fishead” Harding. We are the home of the best Jerk Pork Man in Mobay in Porkman Fletcher (rip) and his granddaughter Carline Christie who solidifies herself has a top Registered Nurse in the USA. We are the home of Keisha Campbell, Gracie and Noel Legg of the United States Army.

Some of our original Landmarks were Sweetie Bar, Ms. Crooks shop, Jah Bells, Mrs. Daisy Bar, Mr. Lewis shop, Sis Shop to name a few. Our community dressmakers were Ms. Letty and Ms. Darkie. Our community Taylors were Mr Watson with granddaughters Denisha Watson who is One of South Florida’s best medical billing, coding & insurance analysts and Kerry Ann Watson who is a Business Development Manager in one of Montego Bay’s top firms, and Mr Will Hudson with daughter’s Garcia and Barbara Hudson whom were two of the top gospel singers in Montego Bay.

We also produced one of the hottest sounds in the early days called Killa Tone Muzic and today Ranger International, also home of the Glamour Girls Productions Team ( Tina, Pet, Paula and Steph).

For the past 10 years we are the only community in Salt Spring with a Back-to-school Fete organized by our Community Leader and Peace Advocate and Youth Development Specialist Donovan “BADDAS” Harding from 2000 miles away in New York City, this function garners the most prestigious Guest Speakers in Montego Bay, he also Organize Mothers And Father’s Day Extravaganza, a Christmas Fete and tutoring for the school kids throughout the school year with JMD$10.000 to each student starting high school and the male and female student with an average over 70 percent gets a laptop.

With all this said and more to be done Melbourne Ave will rise above all with unity, love, strength, and perseverance. Semper Fidelis to our community we are.

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