The following is a summary of the findings of the Social Development Commission study of the area in 2009. Their website is www.sdc.gov.jm/
Maggotty Jamaica (St. Elizabeth Parish)
Location and Physical Geography
Maggotty is located in North West St. Elizabeth on an elevation of 250-300 meters above sea level. The community which lies in the South western corner of Cockpit Country is located in the foothills of the Nassau Mountains.
Maggotty has an average rainfall of 150 mm per annum. The topography is characteristic of Karst limestone regions with the distinctive Cockpits in the hilly portions of the community such as Cameron Hill, Coker and Trennail. The flatter portions which form part of the flood plains of the Upper Morass have tributaries of the Black River running through them. The soils there are composed of more clay.
There are nine districts in Maggotty. These are Trennail, Dry River, New Holland, Coker, Vauxhall, Cameron Hill, Maggotty Pass, Red Hills and Maggotty proper.
The estimated total population of Maggotty was 2,976 in 2009 (SDC household survey 2009). The total number of households was 763. Approximately 75% of the households surveyed are headed by males, however in the general population the gender split is even. The population is fairly youthful with age 0 – 24 years accounting for 43.2% of the general population. The working population, (age 15-64) represented 58% of the general population in 2009.
There are five schools ranging from the basic to secondary level. Three of these are at the basic level, namely Coker Basic, Dorjans Basic and Maggotty Basic. The Glen Stuart Primary School and the Maggotty High School are the other schools. 47% of the household heads have attained up to primary level education followed by 17.6% attainment at the secondary level. 46% of the households surveyed reported not passing any exams at any level.
In 2009, there were 753 houses and 763 households in Maggotty. Traditionally the housing style of Maggotty reflected the availability of wood as a housing material. Other houses were made using nog. Traditionally houses in the area were built on raised platforms of stone or wooden stilts.
The houses invariably had a verandah with fretwork and detached bathroom and cooking facilities. In the town center, living quarters were most often located upstairs in the commercial buildings.
Due to the hilly terrain, many houses are still built on wooden or concrete pilings or on stone platforms. This type of housing is very evident in the district of Coake which is also the largest dormitory area of the community.
In 2009, as per the SDC House Count, 30.99% of the houses were in good condition, 51.15% were in fair condition, and 9.6% were in poor condition. Only a small percentage of the houses (8.3%) were considered to be in very good condition, meaning that the physical structures are sound, they are freshly painted and the windows and doors are intact.
Pit latrines were the most common toilet facility used in Maggotty. This accounted for 44.44%, followed by 39.68% using water closets. 4.76% of respondents reported having no toilet facilities at their homes.
The Maggotty Hydro Dam is one the only dam of its kind in the parish. It contributes 12 mw of electricity to the national grid which aids in the provision of electricity to the community. This station was commissioned in 1959. The major source of energy in the community was electricity, reported by 77.78% of the respondents, while kerosene lamps were used by 19.05%.
Health and Health Care Resources
There are two health care facilities in the community. They are both located in Maggotty proper. Although the services are limited, they are in good condition. People have to travel at least 30 miles to get to the nearest hospital located in Black River.
Despite there being a pump house on the Revere property, most of the community does not get piped water. Some districts have public piped water such as Dry River and Maggoty proper. There is currently a plan in place to provide potable water for the entire community.
The river in the community (Black River) is the main source of water supply for the community and is used for recreation, food and domestic purposes.
In 2009, the top five priority concerns listed by respondents to the survey were as follows:
1) high levels of adult unemployment,
2) high levels of youth unemployment,
3) high levels of high school drop outs,
4) poor representation of Member of Parliament,
5) low skill levels.
Holy Spirit Foundation is pleased to be participating in activities aimed at addressing most of the concerns voiced by community members.