Wed | May 27, 2020

Garth Rattray | Welcome to ‘Kingston’

Published:Sunday | July 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM

About two months ago, I happened to see a very bright sign bearing an image of His Worship, the mayor of Kingston and St Andrew, along with the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation logo. It read, "His Worship the Mayor, Senator and Councillor Delroy Williams WELCOMES you to KINGSTON." I took a picture of it and randomly asked many people where they thought such a sign was located.

Most said that they figured that the sign was near to the Harbour View roundabout or near to the airport, while others thought that it was near to downtown Kingston. No one even came close. When I showed them the surrounding area and they saw that it was in Half-Way Tree (the capital of St Andrew), with a clear view of the famous clock nearby, all jaws dropped, and everyone had a baffled appearance as if to ask, "Seriously?"

I could not explain this anomaly, so I found two email addresses for His Worship, the mayor of Kingston and St Andrew. I sent off emailed letters titled 'Misplaced sign in Half-Way Tree' outlining my concerns. "Sir, I realise that the St Andrew Corporation Act of 1923 merged the local bodies of Kingston and St Andrew to form the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC). I am also aware that, solely for administrative purposes, the KSAC takes responsibility for the 'Corporate Area', also known as 'Greater Kingston'.

"However, Kingston and St Andrew have remained geographically and legally separate. The capital of Kingston remains Kingston, and the capital of St Andrew remains Half-Way Tree.

"We know that the following communities comprise the geographical border for the parish of Kingston - Tivoli Gardens, Denham Town, downtown Kingston, National Heroes Park, Kingston Gardens, Rae Town, Bournemouth Gardens, Norman Gardens, Springfield, Rennock Lodge, Port Royal, along with portions of Allman Town, Franklyn Town and Rollington Town. By no stretch of the imagination does Half-Way Tree fall within any of those areas.

"I was therefore flabbergasted and distressed to see such a conspicuous and official sign welcoming everyone to 'Kingston', smack in the middle of Half-Way Tree, the capital of St Andrew. This sign is grossly inaccurate, misleading and obviously misplaced; it will misinform schoolchildren and ignorant adults alike.

"To be candid, sir, I'm shocked that the sign was erected there, but I'm also extremely perturbed by the fact that this sign had to have been conceived, designed, presented to someone or to a group, proposed in a large meeting, discussed, agreed upon, put to tender, contracted out, fabricated and mounted ... in the wrong place.

"It's an official sign, yet it represents the antithesis of accuracy, efficiency and education. Every minute of every day that it remains on site, people are being misinformed, misled and confused."




There has been no acknowledgement of receipt or reply from any of the two email addresses. I don't know if His Worship, the mayor, read or was even made aware of my correspondence. I've driven through Half-Way Tree and noticed that the 'Welcome to Kingston' sign wasn't displayed. Perhaps the electronic sign cycles through several ads and I missed it. However, there's another 'Welcome to Kingston' sign prominently displayed on a similar electronic sign at the King's House gate intersection ... and I hear there could be more.

Who is responsible for those official, yet grossly inaccurate signs? Could it be that no top official is aware of the huge and blatant mistake, in spite of my emails? Is this just another distortion of reality and facts to serve a political agenda? Why haven't they been removed?

Half-Way-Tree is not welcoming anyway. It has remained a congested mess for years and is only getting worse (that's why I try to avoid it). Please, Mr Mayor, remove those signs.

- Garth A. Rattray is a medical doctor with a family practice. Email feedback to and