Emancipendence And Losing Our Way.

So, its the ‘eve’ of Emancipendence, I take a drive around the City, to gauge just how really aware we are of the struggle entailed in gaining our emancipation from the death grasp of Slavery, and correspondingly, our shaking loose the shackles of Colonialism with Independence.

My journey across the city takes me from Stony Hill, down Constant Spring Road, into New Kingston, and Up Hope Road by the Offices of the Prime Minister, and the Offices/residence of the Governor General. Then across Lady Musgrave Road, back down to Slipe Road and to the National Heroes Park, and down unto the Waterfront. The drive left me in a chronic state of depression, as what I saw, along the way, was decay, mountains of garbage, scores of homeless people and old motor vehicles blocking and littering Roadways, And a sense of hopelessness in the faces and Voices of those I encountered, that left me wondering, Why I chose to remain in this country, despite its own best efforts to drive me overseas.

Garbage Mountain In The City

On my drive, I literally fully understood why Nero Burnt Rome – It was To Create A New City, and Kingston is desperately in need of a ‘New City”.
There was one very bright spark, that caused me joy, and that Spark was provided by the Owners and Operators of the Mall Plaza, along the Constant Spring Commercial shopping strip, to my mind, Owners and Individual operators of Shops in the Plaza, got the spirit, essence, and import of Emancipendence and it made for a glorious intervention.

Imagine, the eve of two earth-moving historical events and the City, not dressed to celebrate and or commemorate these events. Imagine, those who dreamt of their freedom. Imagine those who yearned to shed the colonial yolk that still saw them paying obeisance to a Foreign Monarch. Imagine those who gave their lives in the quest for their own smaddification but were denied it, but because of their fight, we enjoy their dream today.? Imagine the promise of a towering beautiful City, called Kingston, the Jewel of the Caribbean, now being reduced to rubble and ruin thru to neglect, corruption, and the lack of a vision, and then you might begin to understand why I stood between the Memorials of Norman-Washington Manley and Alexander Bustamante, in National Heroes Park, on Sunday Morning, and wept, uncontrollably.

And as I wept, I heard the voice of Jamaica, calling out through its Patriots, Heroes, Heroines, and Freedom Fighters (sung and unsung). “My people, Oh My People, Why Have You Forsaken Me”?
It was that kind of a morning, a call to be reminded of the martyrdom that forced Emancipation and Independence upon those who profited from our enslavement and Colonial subjugation. A reminder that Nationhood is a journey, not a destination. It is a call to foreswear the selfish desires and urges that lead to corruption, as those who are sworn to serve the people, seek only to serve themselves.
It was a call, for rejuvenation and to recommit to the causes that inspired and propelled our ancestors, from they were forcibly imprisoned and bound to ships that would transport them from their homelands to this ‘New” world, where they would face the injustice of more separation, torture, and cruelty, at the hands of those who politically branded them as Less than, so they could profit, and cruelly did so, by invoking the name and supposed presence of their Lord (in Prayers) to dehumanize their fellow-humans, to satiate their greed, gluttony, and aspirational avarice.
Imagine, the fight our forebears fought, only to have their oppressors, replaced,, by their descendants. The thought is enough to make the spirits of the dead, recoil in true horror, as this was not their dream. This was not why they fought.
Because let us not fool ourselves, the state of ruination and decrepitude that is encircling the nation, is of our own making, in that when we elect corrupt leaders, they starve the nation of the needed social services, education health, security, and wholesome environment, to enrich themselves. When they do that, we and our children are robbed of our potential. Our ability to be and become. And our last stage, becomes worst than our first because we lost our moral and social compasses.

Bamboo Decor Representing The National Colours

Imagine, the Eve, of Emancipendence, and the Mall Plaza, is the only place in the city, decorated to truly reinforce the importance of the occasion. The National Colours are streaming and screaming beautifully at you from every vantage point. There are streamers bearing the likeness and brief bios, of our 6-National Heroes and our 1-Heroine. And the shops are beautifully dressed to reflect the national colours and Themes, There’s the Pledge and National Motto, prominently displayed; Bamboo, is used artfully and beautifully to highlight our National Colours, – And you look around soak it in and feel proud, but you are wondering if the Owners and Operators of the Mall Plaza, and the Ammars Shop, can dress-up their establishments to reflect the solemnity of the occasions, why is the rest of the City, looking like a depressing dump?

Across the Mall Plaza, there is the Government Building Housing the offices of PICA, there’s a utilitarian attempt to decorate the building’s facade, but it is woeful. Further up the Road, the Ministry of Justice made no such attempt. And as we journeyed crisscrossing the city, it was clear that the thought never even crossed the minds of those at Jamaica House or Kings House.
Half-way Tree Square was an eyesore of a mess, as was Cross-roads; but more of a disaster zone with Garbage strewn on every corner, with one prominent Mountain of Garbabe, in the Middle of that locale, on Slipe Pen Road.

The PICA Building

At Heroes Park, the struggle was real, as here there was not even the suggestion that those charged with taking care of the park or those with the political responsibilities, even made the connection, that those ‘lying-in-State’, in the ‘hallowed’ grounds of the Park, were the reason for the season.
To be fair, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security did go to town on dressing itself for the occasion, but the Education and Finance Ministries tried, but were sparing in their efforts, and are to be pitied for missing the importance of the trajectory.
On the eve of the sixty-first anniversary of our independence, it was as if it was business as usual. No Oomph. No Pizzazz, No vibe, and this is whilst of National Women’s Football Team is away in Australia and New Zealand, competing in the Women’s Football World Cup. Talk about a Kill-Joy!
Dears, it only got worst, as the drive from Heroes Park, through Central Kinston unto the Waterfront, added to the sense of a failing state on the verge of collapsing on itself, as streets are barricaded as if in a warzone with warring factions protecting turf; Garbage is shockingly everywhere, and loads of it. But mercifully, leaving the Central Kingston locale and hitting the waterfront, one was greeted with clean roadways in the vicinity of the Bank Of Jamaica and The Seabed Authority Building. And driving along Ocean Boulevard, westward, continued being pleasant, until reaching the vicinity of the once posh Ocean Towers building, as here the garbage became a predominant feature once again. Mind you it was not as overpowering as further up, but on turning on Passing the ROK hotel and seeing the decaying Seabed Authority Mall, continuing up King Street, to see the area, for the most part, ‘littered’ with the presumably Homeless, many foraging in the garbage; others lounging; All looking unwashed and filthy, was enough to make an atheists Pray.
And exiting King Street to enter into the Market District to access Orange Street to flee the depressed and depressing conditions of the humans on the roadways, compounded by the visible failing infrastructure occasioning sewage overflowing unto the roadway, abandoned and falling down buildings, that provided a glimmer of their glory days, when they entertained the finest as best as Customers and or Guests, made one yearn for the yesteryears, when the decline was not a clear and present phenomenon.
Sadly, it is not that the City, and by extension Country, are beyond help and or repair, we are capable, but what is lacking is a clear and comprehensive vision, to stave off the growing decay, transform the locale, and arrest crime. And the seeds are being sown, right now for that transformation. What is needed is the multi-agency approach, designed to harness, implement and fulfill.
If those Elected to lead, unify around a common vision, maybe, not next year, but by the time we get around to celebrating the next emancipendence, we would have resensitized the Country, to the Civic Importance of the season; arrested the decay, and begun the transformation, necessary to reclaim and reposition Kingston as the Capital of the Caribbean.
Dare I Hope?

Scroll to Top