What…………………… If it is not the markets, it is the side walks. How many times has the Government undertaken the initiative of dealing with side walk vending? Have you not seen the reports that were running last year almost nightly? We have a set of people whose mantra is ‘eat a food’ and whenever compliance is ordered, they declare ‘dat government nuh wan man fi eat a food, an dem poor’. Regardless of the season, there is always loud noise coming from varying sections of society pleading for leniency for those elements. Yes I say elements as they live their life by paying no operating costs relative to rents, utility bills, and are in fact small business owners. It matters not that they choose to operate as if they are ‘pop down’. If they sell J$1,000.00 for the day, they do not expect to pay out even J$100.00 per day towards any kind of fees. Their life exists on entitlement and paying ones fair share is not in their thought process. For that our leaders have ‘pussy foot’ around these elements for decades and now we are right where we are supposed to be.
I will say it again, we are spineless and devoid of backbone believing that the wishbone will clear things up. We run our politics based on votes from a majority that pays not even 10% of their fair share. Then we have those who pay but are so full of false self importance that their right to vote is not even comprehended in their minuscule mind. So I will suffer along with the insanity of it all and if I can avoid certain areas, I will do so. Absolutely nothing will change until we recognise that ‘sweet talk’, and promise of ‘votes’ will never bring this country to where it needs to be.
Create the change by doing. Your action followed by the results of said actions will speak volumes and then ‘nobaddie caan test dat. A time oono stap bow’.
Where have all the sidewalks gone?
(Jamaica Observer) Sunday, August 30, 2015
From trip and falls to garbage piles, Jamaican sidewalks have seen it all. The walkways which are to be used by pedestrians often contain obstacles that can create danger for the average man, yet alone the disabled community.
“Most of them are not conducive to pedestrians, especially those who have to use wheelchairs and so on,” Calbert Lammie, a pedestrian in Cross Roads, St Andrew, said when asked about the condition of the country’s walkways.
Lined with vendors, loose stones, potholes, exposed pipelines and open manholes, the sidewalks present myriad dangers to pedestrians.
Sheryl Clarke, a vendor who sells on the sidewalk on Burke Road in Spanish Town, was victim of the hazardous walkway in the capital recently.
“A wah day yah me drop out deh so an swell up mi ankle,” Clarke told the Jamaica Observer. She said she fell two Mondays ago, after she tripped over the raised cover of a manhole on the sidewalk.
Clarke, who said she also hit her chest and head, added that she often would witness pedestrians hurting themselves, owing to the many obstacles along the sidewalks.
“A regular people buck dem toe an fall down out deh so,” she said, pointing to a section of the sidewalk in front of the LoJ Shopping Centre in the old capital.
“Up to dis week one blind man fall down inna da hole deh,” she continued, pointing to a structure that once surrounded a tree. She said the tree was uprooted some time ago but the blocks which surrounded the area were never removed.
But Clarke and colleagues who operate on the sidewalks were viewed as a nuisance and an additional obstruction to some pedestrians.
“Because of the vendors sometimes you have to end up in the road,” Floyd Boswell, a pedestrian in the old capital, said.
“They need to find somewhere [to] put the sellers,” Dianne, another pedestrian from Spanish Town passionately lamented. “Where we going to walk when them in the way?”
One pedestrian who identified herself as Mary told the Sunday Observer that her main issue with the sidewalk was the vendors’ presence. She said the problem exists especially in the downtown area where she has had experiences of people running over her son’s leg with carts.
“Dem push cart, dem push dem trolley, everything pan di sidewalk an you talk to dem an is like dem want cus,” Mary said as she shook her head in disbelief.
“An we nuh want fi stop di higglas dem downtown from eat dem food but dem need fi go somewhere else. Sidewalk nah cut it or if dem a go hav dem deh, dem put dem to a likkle one side or something so we can walk,” she continued.
When asked about the government’s action toward the condition of the country’s sidewalks, Deputy Superintendent in the road and works department of the St Catherine Parish Council, Romond Fisher, said the organisation tries to repair sidewalks they are responsible for as quickly as possible.
“Once we notice any damage or any sidewalk in need of repair, we try to fix it immediately if we can,” he said.
The parish council official also highlighted difficulties that the government faces in implementing and improving the sidewalks as one of the reasons for the state of the country’s walkways.
“We have roads that never got sidewalks before; and we can’t put any in, in many cases [because] if we should do that we probably cover a water pipe or something like that,” Fisher said as he explained that the town’s history of being built much like London has a lot to do with the inhibitions.
Referring to the pitfalls of the scrap metal industry, Fisher told the Sunday Observer that “sometimes we make covers and because of the scrap metal trade they remove it. When you find them without covers it is because somebody took them away.”
According to data provided by the Road Safety Unit (RSU) of the Ministry of Transport and Works, 99 pedestrians were killed in road fatalities and fatal accidents last year, while 56 have been killed since 2015.