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Ward's stance on Tivoli a Silver Pen winner

Published:Monday | March 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Paul Ward, member of the Tivoli Committee, receives his Silver Pen Award for a letter he wrote about the leadership vacuum in Tivoli Gardens, from Gleaner writer Jodi-Ann Gilpin at the newspaper’s North Street, Kingston offices last Thursday.

Paul Ward, member of the Tivoli Committee, was last Thursday awarded The Gleaner's Silver Pen for a letter he penned to the editor last December.

Ward told The Gleaner that his struggle with what he describes as the "swinging of blame on the residents of Tivoli Gardens" was what prompted him to write his letter titled 'State To Blame For Tivoli Leadership Vacuum'.

His letter was also a response to guest columnist Juleus Ghunta, who critiqued an article written by Gleaner columnist Ian Boyne, under the headline 'Tivoli Enquiry Just Drama?'.

Ghunta argued that Boyne's assertion that "the mashing down of the Tivoli Gardens garrison is an objective public good" is casual and thoughtless.

Ward, in his letter, noted that persons responsible for the deterioration of Tivoli Gardens should be held accountable.

"Ghunta reminds us how Tivoli came about, and how it was maintained - from a bold idea to one perverted by narrow political interests. Its shortcomings as a garrison/political stronghold are hardly the fault of the people living there. Nor can there be any excuse for the massacre inflicted by agents of the state in May 2010, as well as on previous occasions," Ward's letter read.

"To understand the evolution of Tivoli is not to condone or excuse everything that went on there, as I have said already. But to follow Ian Boyne's argument would be to celebrate also what has happened in Iraq in recent years, again because of dishonest agendas - a regime with its good and bad aspects now a destabilised mess after a bloody incursion, in which ordinary folks are worse off. An honest agenda would attempt to build on the good aspects and improve people's lives," the letter added.

It continued: "Those responsible for the 'garrisonisation' of Tivoli (and other similar communities) need to be brought to book for such a transgression. Those who would now (the same people) kill and maim because they had lost control (even whilst still benefiting) need hauling before, not just our local commission of enquiry,

but before the International Criminal Court for all the world to see, and for appropriate sanctions to be administered."

Ward noted, after he was presented with his award at The Gleaner's offices in Kingston, that the development should be treated with urgency.

"The impression that is given is, because the residents demonstrated and said we will die for Dudus (Christopher Coke), and because it is alleged that there were barricades in the area, the residents deserve to die. It would be very unfortunate if we are drifting in that direction," he declared.

"What disappoints me is that, after 2010, there was a lot of talk about rebuilding the social infrastructure of Tivoli and West Kingston in general, trying to put resources in place so that people's lives can be better. I remember in the 1970s, downtown Kingston was a place where you could hang out and lyme. We have to get serious about development," he charged.