Thu | Aug 13, 2020

First-World status needs social reconstruction

Published:Wednesday | October 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM


LAST WEDNESDAY, October 6, I had the occasion to go downtown Kingston that resulted in a few experiences I did not anticipate. I took a bus from Half-Way Tree and it drove via East Street en route to downtown Kingston.

On reaching the intersection of East and Tower streets, I witnessed this young man, stooping down, on his knees like a dog, sipping up water from the gutters. The water was filled with green algae and appeared soapy. When he was finished drinking, he then washed his face in running water, got up and walked away. I found this very disgusting but I thought: what could have driven this young man to this depraved level of existence?

The bus continued on to my intended destination at Duke Street. After I finished my assignment at Duke Street, I decided to walk across town to South Parade to get back on the bus. While walking along King street, and reaching the intersection of Barry and King Streets, I was again distracted. This time it was by a long-lost friend for 40 years. Before I knew it I walked into a metal stump on the sidewalk. It was the remains of a metal structure. The edge was so sharp that it gave me a nasty cut on the shank of my left leg.

First-aid kit

My long-lost friend then turned to me and said he worked in the government facility adjacent to the spot where I got injured, and went searching for a first-aid kit. However, when he inquired of the security guard, there was no first-aid kit there. I found this very unusual and again thought to myself, "You mean a government facility filled with workers don't have a first-aid kit? So what do they do in case of an emergency?

I then tried to get some assistance at a pharmacy. Would you believe it, the personnel at the pharmacy informed me when I got there that they have something for a fresh wound but they have no bandages to cover it. Jamaica, Jamaica, what has happened to you!? Some time ago our energy minister gave us a timeline in which he said Jamaica would become a First-World country. Is this fantasy or what? I think that our politicians need to know the difference between a 'dream' and a 'vision' because it does not take advanced technology, alone, but also social reconstruction and the decline of poverty.

In conclusion, I don't know what could be done for the young man I saw. I hope there are agencies in Kingston that can help people like this. But I am sure that the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, just as they can tow away illegally parked motor vehicles, can remove the dangerous obstacles from the sidewalk of King Street and Barry Street, directly across from the Supreme Court. There are four metal obstructions protruding from the sidewalk about 14 inches in depth which, I am sure, are going to claim more victims.

I am, etc.,

Frank Hill