Tue | Jan 23, 2018

Restoring City Kingston

Published:Saturday | December 24, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Councillor Delroy Williams, mayor of Kingston.

I am sure most Jamaicans would like to see a capital city of which they can all be proud. As a boy growing up in the country many years ago, Kingston, or 'Town', as we called it, carried a certain amount of magic, and we envied those fortunate to spend their holidays in the bright city.

Farm products from my little and other rural districts made their way to the Coronation Market every week - and still do. The capital city is, therefore, vital to the economic life of the country in many ways.

Like thousands of other rural folk, I, too, have found myself residing in Kingston since the year of Independence and have watched the deterioration of much of its structure. The population grew faster than the planners could handle, as many inner-city areas sprung up. Some politicians took advantage of this, because once they controlled those areas, they were sure of their seats in Parliament.

The newly constituted Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, under the leadership of Mayor Delroy Williams, has its work cut out. I am suggesting the following to be attended to immediately:

The gateways into the city: First impressions last, and the eastern gateway from the airport is unsightly. But has anyone seen the dump on Spanish Town Road, especially between Weymouth Drive and Six Miles? Mr Mayor, please take a look at this place urgently. Is that the new city dump?

Ramshackle and dangerous old buildings: Either get the owners to demolish or refurbish such structures or use the powers vested in you to acquire these properties. If the owners cannot be found, put the money in the bank, and if no one claims the property after a reasonable period, use the money for developing the lot. These ramshackle buildings are not only structurally dangerous, but act as receptacles for garbage and undesirable characters.

The markets: I shop at Coronation Market, and it is a pleasant experience for neither shopper nor vendor in what is supposed to be modern times. Whenever it rains, the market is like a badly kept pig pen, with mud all over. In addition, the ropes that anchor the numerous makeshift tents, plus the dilly-dally handcart operators, could make a good setting for a horror movie.

Parking is also a big problem, and this has kept many shoppers away from that area. Could the empty area across from the railway station be used for that purpose? While you are at it, how about paving the Cross Roads Market?

Sidewalks, cross-drains, rusty zinc fences and potholes: What a sight! And don't forget the Bournemouth Baths and the street people.

In the interest of the capital city, it is high time our elected representatives grow up and work together for the betterment of the metropolis. Bury the old, infantile political rivalry once and for all.