Thu | Aug 22, 2019

Resident believes opposition to Heroes Circle development driven by fear of loss of votes

Published:Thursday | July 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
A section of the audience attending the town hall meeting held at the Wolmer's Boys School to discuss the development of National Heroes Park on Tuesday night.
Ronald Thwaites asking a question at the town hall meeting held at the Wolmer's Boys School on Tuesday to discuss the redevelopment of The National Heroes Circle.

At least one resident is claiming that the strong opposition by some to the development of National Heroes Circle and the environs is being driven by politics.

Hubert Henry, a resident of Allman Town in central Kingston, charged that politicians and their surrogates were not keen on supporting the development, fearing that they would lose votes if the area were to be developed.

"All [you si] happening here, most of it is politics. They don't really want to see the people live a better life and be independent. They want to see the youth living in slum all the days of their lives, and that's why they are fighting it so much," Henry told The Gleaner outside of the Wolmer's Boys School, where there was an RJRGleaner Town hall meeting on Tuesday night.

He reasoned that residents should accept the planned development and see it as an opportunity to develop themselves.

"We must can see better one day. I don't think we did mek fi live so, sah. You have five, six generations of people [who have lived] here, and they [have] never [seen] better yet," said Henry. "Dem poor and hungry. So they must see it [the development] and say yes, we can live in a better community and a better area that can smell clean like other places," Henry said.

At Tuesday's town hall meeting, Central Kingston Member of Parliament (MP) Ronald Thwaites declared his support for the development of Heroes Circle, including the construction of the Parliament there.

But he took issue with other aspects of the planned development, charging that they must be put elsewhere. He also accused the Holness Administration of pursuing the National Heroes Circle redevelopment "upside-down".

"If the Parliament is to go there, which I support, please do not put it in the middle. Do no put the museum there. The museum must go up by King's House. We need the park for recreation and for levity," Thwaites said to loud cheers from constituents.

He continued: "We want to ensure that people have decent housing. National Housing Trust, free up the capital now and lend it to the people so they can develop the houses that they have and resettle those that have to be resettled by building for them first. And do not build houses for $10 and $15 million because we cannot afford that. We want to own it according to our means," the MP said.