THE EDITOR, Sir:
In his letter of September 13, 2013, Mr Hardley M. Lewin made the suggestion that the Chinese hub be put on the Kingston Harbour shore. This is, indeed, an idea which deserves consideration.
Regarding the city of Kingston, during the 20th century, there were developments which, if taken, would have made it a very different Caribbean capital.
One of these was a proposal in the 1920s put forward by the Jamaican industrialist James F. Gore, who recommended the establishment of a cement plant at Portmore Pen on the western side of the Kingston Harbour.
Confidential files in the Jamaica Archives - now open to the public - contain correspondence on the matter between Governor Probyn and the Crown agents, the colonial secretary and No. 10 Downing Street. In an atmosphere of intrigue, cables in code went to and fro across the Atlantic on the subject of the manufacture of cement in Jamaica. The upshot was that Gore's proposal was eventually suppressed.
During the mid-1950s, that very controversial politician, Wills O. Isaacs, put forward the suggestion that a hotel be built in Victoria Park (now St William Grant Park). Architectural drawings of the proposed structure were on display at Nathan's Store on King Street so that the public could have the fullest opportunity to view them.
There was, however, an outcry at the thought of the desecration of the colony's historic site; heated letters in the press denounced the idea; and Isaacs went no further with the plan.
But what if it had materialised? Would it have triggered urban renewal in downtown Kingston? Would King Street have retained its reputation as the island's famous street for shopping? Would Kingston Parish Church and Coke Methodist Chapel have continued to attract large and vibrant congregations? And would the Ward Theatre have remained the nation's centre for the performing arts?
Let us give consideration to options and opportunities that may be lying very close at hand.
MARGUERITE CURTIN (OD)