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People's Report | Beautiful Jamaica but ramshackle capital

Published:Saturday | May 21, 2016 | 5:00 AM

TREVOR SAMUELS

tasamuels@cwjamaica.com

There are more plans to restore the city of Kingston than 'John can read bout'. Mr Romaro Scott's Letter of the Day in The Gleaner of May 13 is another plea to the authorities to make some greater effort to rescue the city from the ramshackle state into which it has descended. His letter is a most timely reminder of the importance of a capital to a nation's development, and this should be borne in mind if the goals of Vision 2030 are to be realised.

Harbour and King streets were once the finest roads in Kingston and, perhaps, the English-speaking Caribbean. Shopping was great and tourists from cruise ships, merchants, and sailors mingled with the local population in great numbers. Bars on Hanover and East Queen streets were open round the clock. Churches were open in the days for persons who needed quiet time to meditate. What went wrong?

Colonel Charles Ward must be looking down from Heaven and thinking what an ungrateful set of people we are and what an inept set of administrators we have to have let such a historic building as the Ward Theatre come to such a sorry state. Fix the Ward, please!

 

DILAPIDATED BUILDINGS

 

Further up, Orange Street looks like it has still not recovered from the 1907 earthquake. Does the Jamaica Public Service Company still own the old office, and what of the old gas station on the slip road leading from Orange to Upper King Street? The Government speaks about lack of courtroom space as one reason for the delay in the justice system, but right in Justice Square, there is the gutted old Jamaica Mutual Life building, which now harbours rats and other vermin. This building could well be fixed to provide additional courtroom space.

As far as Harbour Street is concerned, one must commend companies like GraceKennedy, the ICD Group, and other businesses, which remained loyal to that area and did not run uptown.

There are several ramshackle buildings in other areas downtown that pose a danger to the public. Can't Government compel the owners to demolish them? What about properties whose owners cannot be found?

The eastern gateway from the airport is the visitor's first experience of the city of Kingston. Certainly, no one could be proud of its appearance. Not long ago, we heard that that area would be turned into an 'Elegant Corridor'. Was this another wild promise?