Saint Catherine in Jamaica
|Other towns||Portmore, Old Harbour,|
|o Total||1,192 km2 (460 sq mi)|
|o Density||430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)|
St Catherine (capital Spanish Town) is a parish in the south east of Jamaica. It is located in the county of Middlesex, and is one of the island's largest and most economically valued parishes because of its many resources. It includes the first capital of Jamaica, Spanish Town, originally known as San Jago de la Vega or Santiago de la Vega (St. James of the Plain).
St Catherine is located at St Andrew in the east, Clarendon in the west, and by St Mary and St Ann in the north. It has an area of 1,192 km², making it one of Jamaica's largest parishes and it is one of the fastest growing parishes in the nation and has the largest economy out of all fourteen parishes. Except for the Hellshire Hills near the coast, the south of the parish is virtually flat. The central and northern sections are very mountainous, however; the northern border is on Mount Rosser, which crosses over into St Ann, the highest point being 686 metres (2,251 ft).. It is bordered by
A plain of approximately 230 square kilometres (57,000 acres) occupies the southern part of the Rio Cobre basin. The Rio Cobre is the only river that runs along the southern plain. It provides water to irrigate over 73 square kilometres (18,000 acres) on the plain.
Out of all the parishes (with the exception of Kingston Parish and Saint Andrew Parish) Saint Catherine shows the most potential for urban development. With its good water resources, virtually flat landscape, and nearness to the capital, it could possibly be one of the Caribbean's major urban areas in the next few years.
Agriculture remains the main source of employment in the parish. There are many small farmers who practice mixed farming; crops such as bananas, coconuts, pineapple, citrus, pumpkins, peppers, coffee and callaloo are planted for both domestic and commercial purposes. The larger properties produce sugar cane, bananas and citrus mainly for export. Dairy farms are also found in the parish. One of these is a 4.0 square kilometres (1,000 acres) farm in Old Harbour. The Salt Ponds District between Spanish Town, Port Henderson and Passage Fort is noted for the fine fish especially calipera.
St Catherine is second only to Kingston as an industrial center. Industrial plants are some of the biggest employers in the parish. Spanish Town has the largest salt producing plant in the Caribbean, while Jamaica Milk Products, an affiliate of the Nestlé organization, has a factory in Bog Walk, another major town in the parish. The largest power plant in the island and several factories are located in Old Harbour. Twickenham Park, near Spanish Town, is another industrial estate with mainly light industries including cigarettes, carpets, batteries, plastic items, medical and pharmaceutical products.