Anglican bishop decries 'decay of Kingston' as it celebrates 140 years
AS KINGSTON celebrates 140 years, the Reverend Dr Howard Gregory, the Anglican Lord Bishop of Jamaica, has painted a dismal picture of the state of the city and has called for leadership in governance in an effort to have a renewed and transformed city.
"The decay of Kingston is in evidence all around and is reflected both in the physical environment as well as in the social life of many of its residents. Every time I travel to cities abroad and see what the renewal of cities can look like, I weep over my city," Gregory said yesterday as he gave his message at the service of thanksgiving at the Kingston Parish Church.
"We have a well-laid out city with good infrastructure and it is being allowed to slide further and further into decay," he added.
Gregory, who was speaking to a large congregation, pointed to crime and violence and political tribalism as areas that have been causing havoc on residential communities nearest to the city centre.
"The lack of adequate planning for the city is obvious for all to see. All over the city, one sees not just downtown, but places like Eden Gardens, Vineyard Town, Richmond Park, and all the older residential communities falling to pieces."
He further lamented, "There is a mistaken notion that the dwellings in these areas can always go, because they are old, and yet the folly of such an argument is evident to persons who travel overseas and see how cities are proud to maintain their old residences and the kind of premium price that they can fetch."
no effective representation
The lord bishop said the city, as well as the people who reside in the area, is being ignored with a lack of effective representation from the state.
"In our city, a garage can begin operation on your street, and there is no agent of state, which will respond with any measure of effectiveness. And the sad thing about it all is that the residents can complain from now to eternity and they are not receiving a response from those individuals and institutions charged with governance, that would allow people to foster a sense of ownership of their communities, and partnership with municipal authorities."
Meanwhile, Mayor of Kingston Angela Brown Burke said the KSAC is on a mission to improve the lives of persons in Kingston.
She said the council is now developing a local economic development plan, which will address unemployment and other issues affecting the residents.
"We are hoping this will make a difference in terms of the employment and the quality of life in Kingston.
"We have just formed the committee, and we are inviting persons to sit with us and have the discussion, so that persons in Kingston and St Andrew could see what is in it for them and how they can improve their own economic status as a result of that," she said.