unsanitary conditions of the streets and vending facilities of downtown Kingston have increasingly become a source of displeasure and disgust for many commuters and people who ply their trade in one way or another throughout the space.
Last week, the Jamaica Observer witnessed streets of the business hub in the capital city overrun with rubbish, filthy water and maggots, while a similar scene existed on Heywood Street immediately in front of, and inside the Red Rose Fish Market.
One woman, who was scaling fish, pointed to the maggot-filled pile of garbage outside the market and turned her nose up at the health hazard. She lamented that the conditions had taken a toll on her fish sales.
“It stink and it a sick wi! Nobody not coming over here to buy. We have to go across the road pon cart to sell and it nuh good. About five woman sick inside the market from this a gwaan. In the mornings a pure maggots,” she expressed.
The discomfort felt by her colleagues due to the situation was embedded in their facial expressions and voices.
Another female fish vendor indicated that the non-collection of garbage and the excess breeding of maggots got out of control in the last three weeks.
“The place is so stink. Around three weeks now the place stay suh. Mi can’t even sell anything. Mi affi put up back mi goods dem. We need the place to clean up. Look pon di wall, a pure maggot,” she highlighted.
One seller was adamant that the situation was inexcusable, especially because they pay $1,000 every week to use the market.
“What happened to the tax money that wi pay? Plus every week we pay $1, 000 to use the market. What happen to that money? We sell food so we want it to be cleaned. It cannot stay like that,” the woman insisted.
According to one man, word on the street has been that the garbage truck operators weren’t being paid by the authorities, and he strongly believed that explained why people had to be holding their noses as they move around downtown.
“The town mek you sick,” he said.
The National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) did not respond to Sunday Observer queries about the possible causes of the garbage problem.
Facing an awful-looking pile of rubbish at North Parade in the vicinity of Chancery Lane, the cry from one elderly woman was, “Jesus Saviour, help us!”
“Downtown nuh stay bad, it tan bad pon every corner you turn. Me come to town from me a teenager inna di 1960s from St Thomas. Mi coulda walk town from evening until the next morning and it clean, clean, clean. People were selling on the street same way and when dem finish dem clean up after themselves and when dem done, you see garbage truck come. Back in the days the trucks would come twice per day.
“It grieves me to see what is going on now. The garbage alone is not the problem. There is no order. Some people line the sidewalk wid dem goods and if you walk and bounce it, dem waa buss your throat, shoot you, and dem waa stab you and tell you all kinds of strings weh knot you up. It looks like is pure talk going on and no action from Government. Every day you hear dem talk about what they are going to do with Ward Theatre. Mi used to come a Ward Theatre come watch Byron Lee Stage show. Right out at Place Theatre deh suh, mi see all tree a grow in deh. It is a disgrace!”