Tuesday 17 September, 2019

Kingston’s homeless to get a residence amid tourism focus for the city

Desmond McKenzie

Desmond McKenzie

A place of residence is to be built next year for Kingston’s homeless, with plans in place to refurbish and construct a modern facility at the top of King Street.

Speaking at the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in St William Grant Park, downtown Kingston on Thursday, Local Government and Community Development Minister, Desmond McKenzie, said the project would be a continuation of what he started years ago while being Mayor of Kingston.

According to McKenzie, the ministry has been working in other parishes to fix infirmaries and upgrade facilities for the poor and destitute, and he believes it is time to rectify the situation in Kingston, where it is estimated that over 1,000 individuals live on the streets, the highest of all the parishes nationally.

The facility is to be built in association with the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation, with the hope that corporate Jamaica will get on board to assist.

McKenzie said, “We have to do it because many of those persons who are living on the streets were once movers and shakers of this country. Many paid their taxes.

“They have contributed in a very significant way to the growth and development of the country, but have now found themselves in a difficult situation, and it has been left now to the Government and the KSAC to ensure that we take care of the poor and destitute,” McKenzie said.

Meanwhile, according to the current Kingston Mayor, Delroy Williams, the KSAMC has been working over the past year to ensure that the city of Kingston becomes a tourist attraction.

Williams said among the things that have been done is the continued restoration of Ward Theatre, returning of vibrancy to the waterfront, collaboration with Digicel for the building of Flag Circle, and the erection of Miss Lou’s statue in Gordon Town.

He said the KSAMC will be working with Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) to revitalise the section of the waterfront from Rae Town to the Bank of Jamaica, which is to come on stream next year.

According to Williams, there are plans in place to upgrade the area where Miss Lou’s statue is located to make it an attraction, after which it is to become the Miss Lou Square.

He said Secret Gardens, which was started while McKenzie was mayor, to remember children who were killed, is to be expanded to now include children from the municipality who excel.

Williams said plans are also under way to remove buses from operation in the Parade area of downtown Kingston, as the KSAMC is working to make Kingston a destination city.

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