Seymour says: Clean up downtown

GRIME, filthy and dirty were three words used to describe downtown Kingston by Morin Seymour, former executive director of Kingston Restoration Company (KRC).

Seymour, chairman of the Central Branch All-Age School, linked the physical appearance of the capital city to the serious crimes being committed in the space.

“Downtown Kingston is frightfully dirty, and the KSAMC [Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation] is doing absolutely nothing! Dirt and crime go together, and I encourage the KSAMC, the mayor, and the town clerk to clean up the city of Kingston. Go downtown tomorrow; garbage is everywhere. Garbage and crime go together. The KSAMC is fast asleep. I’m dealing with the city of Kingston — I’m not dealing with anywhere else,” he told the Jamaica Observer in an interview.

“Crime and grime go together. The city is filthy dirty. When I walk down King Street it’s filthy dirty. Wherever you go is filthy dirty, and you expect not to have crime and the kinds of crime that we see being committed daily? Come on, give us a break,” Seymour lamented.

But up to October 18 this year there were 38, 57 ad 58 murders across Kingston Central, Kingston Eastern and Kingston Western, respectively. These are 21, 19 and 36 per cent decreases, respectively, when compared to the same period last year.

There have also been fewer shootings, with 37, 51 and 57, respectively, across the same police divisions.

Seymour added: “Some of our leaders have gotten lazy and dull, and the crime seeps in-between that. We need to sharpen up! I go to the Kingston Parish Church on a Sunday and it’s pure garbage. Who wants to be around garbage when they are going to worship?”

But speaking about pest control in the Coronation Market vicinity downtown, Louis Tulloch, managing director of Carib Pest Control Services, said the space isn’t as polluted as it once was.

“Once you have to drive along Spanish Town Road going into the market, that is where you have high visibility. I must say though, that it is not as bad as I used to see it. There has been some disciplinary action taken why there is more cooperation between proper disposal by the people who vend. You don’t see garbage all over the place again. They really try to be more orderly, and we have service areas there, and I must say that there has been a high improvement,” he told the Sunday Observer.

As it relates to rats, Tulloch added, “You really see them in the nights spurring across the streets and so on but I don’t think they are seen in the days, so that’s why it is not really brought to the fore. Once there is refuse, you can’t get away from rodents.”

In 2014 the KSAMC had said it was prepared to ensure that downtown Kingston is on par with Vision 2030, and that the clean-up of the streets was the first step in that direction.

Two years prior, the corporation and the Social Development Commission (SDC) rolled out a ‘Downtown Clean Community’ competition to encourage improved sanitation practices among residents in the Corporate Area.

Participating communities included Parade Gardens, Rae Town, Tivoli Gardens, Hannah Town, Denham Town, Fletcher’s Land, Kingston Gardens (Allman Town) and Rose Gardens.

Seymour told the Sunday Observer, in addition, that the second tier to the issue in Kingston is disadvantaged youth.

“A way has to be found to engage all our young people in gainful endeavour once they are not in school. We can do it; the city is not that large. Once we do that and have a proper programme to engage our young people in gainful endeavour then we will reduce the ability of those who don’t want to be engaged in gainful endeavour to be involved in unproductive activity,” he opined.

“Young people are just looking for an opportunity to excel. We can do it. There are enough organisations, private and public, to take them up off the street and put them into gainful endeavour. We will lose one and two but we won’t lose many. We have to find a way. But a lot of focusing on profit — and that is important for shareholders — but at the same time you must clean up the inner city,” Seymour insisted.

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