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Bishop weeps for Kingston: The Church of England Newspaper, November 11, 2012 p 7. November 13, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies, Development/Economics/Govt Finances.
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The Bishop of Jamaica has called upon the government to take action to halt the physical and social decay of Kingston.

In a 28 Oct 2012 service marking the 140th anniversary of the city’s being made capital of the island, the Rt. Rev. Howard Gregory said the “decay of Kingston is in evidence all around and is reflected both in the physical environment as well as in the social life of many of its residents. Every time I travel to cities abroad and see what the renewal of cities can look like, I weep over my city.”

The city had been built on a “well-laid out” grid with “good infrastructure” that had been allowed to slide into decay he said.  Founded in 1692, Kingston is the commercial hub and capital of Jamaica and has an estimated population of almost 1 million.  In recent years the city has been the scene of widespread gang violence that has led to a flight to the suburbs of the professional and middle classes.

“The lack of adequate planning for the city is obvious for all to see,” the bishop said, noting that zoning laws were not enforced, garbage not collected, and the roads not maintained.

He denounced the indifference the government displayed towards the provision of basic public services.  “In our city, a garage can begin operation on your street, and there is no agent of state, which will respond with any measure of effectiveness. And the sad thing about it all is that the residents can complain from now to eternity and they are not receiving a response from those individuals and institutions charged with governance that would allow people to foster a sense of ownership of their communities, and partnership with municipal authorities.”

State neglect combined with a lack of civic pride meant that “all the older residential communities falling to pieces,” he said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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