Wed | Nov 21, 2018

Carol Narcisse | When will the longsuffering end?

Published:Friday | June 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The majority of Jamaicans who are black and not financially wealthy have an excruciatingly hard row to hoe.

It appears that they have absolutely no needs or rights which our leaders and successive generations of public servants take any account of.

The tradition of neglect, disrespect and 'less-counting" has remained from colonial times until now.

Among the most recent examples is the fact that public servants and leaders found it possible to give vendors two weeks' notice to vacate the Constant Spring Market. And, from all indications, they did not see why this action was appalling.

Clippings from your newspaper's archives show reports dating from 1929 that make reference to the market vendors of Constant Spring needing a structure. One report is of a 1930-31 KSAC Estimate of Expenditure with £500 allocated for the building. Another report of 1941 is of police arresting the vendors for plying their wares on the street, the building still having not been erected.

Fast-forward to the grand and great-grandchildren of those vendors and, well, it's the same old, same old. There is a road to be built, so they can be pitched out of the now several-decades-old market to go wherever.




Then there is National Heroes Park. Someone in leadership has decided that a new parliament building can be built nowhere else except in the centre of the park. It matters not that for generations, the park has served the people's need for an open space for active recreation. No consultation with them has been considered necessary since the Government accepted this recommended siting of the parliament building that was put forward this year by the China-owned construction firm, with which the Government has an exclusive memorandum of understanding.

It matters not that several other recommendations have been made over many years by Jamaican architects via the Urban Development Corporation (UDC). The UDC has drawings for the park showing it transformed into a proper green, active recreational space and the Parliament building sited far more appropriately, including in the Heroes Circle but not in the park.

Well, leaders get what leaders want. The needs of the people of the city, packed into ever more dense communities, seem to have little or no relevance. They are not even worthy of being consulted on the plans for redevelopment of their area and for the park.

Then there are the concrete barriers that public servants and leaders of Jamaica permit to be built down streets like Barbican Road and along the industrial corridor of Newport West and East. The people who have traditionally crossed those streets to their places of work do not matter. They are left to climb over said barriers. Although there is daily evidence of this indignity, no one bothers to do anything to remedy the situation. The practice persists from road to road.

I could go on, but I think you get my drift. We make a great error if we believe that longsuffering lasts forever.

- Carol Narcisse is a civil-society advocate. Email feedback to