Give West End a sidewalk now!
Businessman Ryan Morrison, the president of the Negril Entertainment Association (NEA), is renewing his call for the construction of a sidewalk along the West End Road in the resort town as according to him, the current roadway has become treacherous for pedestrians.
Morrison, who wants a sidewalk to be constructed from the town's square to the Negril Lighthouse, noted that the absence of a sidewalk has resulted in businesses' sales falling on the West End, as tourists are too afraid to walk on the narrow roadway for fear of being struck by motor vehicles.
"It is 2016; you cannot have a tourist resort without sidewalks. They (tourists) do not walk and the few who do walk, is not sufficient to patronise all the businesses on the West End," said Morris. "So what tends to happen is that, even though you have guests at like say Sam Sara (which is West End) who you would expect to go down the road and patronise, they go into a bus and drive past thievery same businesses,"
"Without sidewalks, people cannot patronise businesses; and as a result, it affects businesspeople negatively," said Morris, who owns and operate the Kush Art Gallery. "That is the very reason they put the sidewalk (Norman Manley Boulevard) you know, so that the sidewalk would make the guests patronise businesses here. So it is only there alone? What happen to around here?"
"You can go around there (West End) and sit at any business place and watch the number of people who pass in the buses ... about 97 per cent of people pass in the vehicles because they can't walk. And that impacts the little people - the original people of Negril," said Morris, who noted that small merchants on the West End are facing closure.
Besides the benefit to the various businesses, Morris said a sidewalk would be very beneficial to the children who attend the Negril All age School, who have nowhere to walk except in the road.
"We have an acute problem at the school, where about 300 children have to walk on a place where there is no sidewalk...we are saying, just like you finished up here (Norman Manley Boulevard), there should be a natural progression where you just start West End roadway."
Morrison said the time has come for the Negril Green Island Planning Authority and the other relevant agencies to act as some enterprises on the West End have now encroached on the roadway, resulting in less walking space.
"In Jamaica, you do not own land you are a landholder, so the eminent domain; the government can go and take it. It may be problematic, but if you insist that you have to have sidewalk the government can go in and do it," said Morris. "If the government says we need it in the interest of the community, they can get it. They just have to act."