As I lay in bed last Thursday night I reflected on my recent stay in Jamaica. I had many memorable moments which weren't all bad. I've lived and worked in all three counties and I usually visit friends from all three when I go.
During my last stay I got a chance to catch up with a very close friend, my old Northern Caribbean University roommate. However, to make this happen I had to wait in Kingston for a few hours until he left work. I had the pleasure of waiting in a beautiful park in the heart of downtown Kingston - the one with Sir Alexander Bustamante's statue at the north gate. Now I'm wondering what my wait would be like if it were in Montego Bay.
I've travelled to many countries, have had the opportunity to visit many city parks and am always amazed and fascinated by their aesthetic beauty, character and charm. They are indeed places of retreat and spiritual upliftment - somewhere to go, to get away and to find solace in a natural setting. Parks are for everyone, a garden space in the concrete jungle of the city, the citizens' birthright. In many of these places, there are large and small parks and there are even parks where you take your pets to exercise.
In Montego Bay, the amphitheatre at the corner of Gloucester Avenue and Queen's Drive used to be a small park, but citizens were deprived of that retreat and it's now a roundabout with a small island for pedestrians.
I would like to know the reason for that. I think an effort should be made not to confine citizens to their homes, but to offer them a respite from the captivating clutches of the gadgets we are forced to live with daily and provide them with a place just to find respite from the many stresses of life.
Another issue I find frustrating is the lack of public toilets and a decent public beach that is on par with beaches that charge an arm and a leg to use their facility. Montego Bay is famous for its water, beaches and flowers, etc. All these things should be made accessible to Jamaicans free of charge. Need we remind the powers that be that this is our country, a place where our forefathers bled and died to ensure our freedom?
Let's not sell out and privatise all our best waterfront properties, but let us preserve some for posterity - they will thank us that we did. I would like the mayor and the St James Parish Council to consider giving Dump Up to the citizens of Jamaica as a gift: make it a national park where rich and poor alike can go to find solace and spiritual upliftment from the hustle and bustle of city life. Make it a beautiful showpiece of Jamaican accommodation and landscaping genius and a park on par with famous parks of the world.