Differences set aside as political rivals open Eastern Kingston Promenade
THE increasing political tension surrounding the looming local government elections was not enough to prevent Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett and Member of Parliament for Kingston Eastern and Port Royal Phillip Paulwell from giving each other pats on the back on Monday.
The two were at the official opening of the Eastern Kingston Promenade on the walls of Bellevue Hospital on Windward Road.
The focal point of the promenade is a vibrant mural, hardscaping, and developmental works within the community, done at a budget of $7 million.
The project, which unfolded across two phases, started in November 2022 and concluded days ago.
Paulwell commenced the mutual admiration as he applauded Bartlett for the Spruce Up Jamaica programme under which the tourism ministry funds small, focused, community development projects across every constituency.
“Minister, Spruce Up [Jamaica] is a wonderful project for Jamaica, and this [the Eastern Kingston Promenade] demonstrates, for us, the success of that programme,” said Paulwell as he noted that Bartlett’s team has also pledged to work with him to create a tourism product in the community previously known as Wareika Hills, which has been renamed Pleasant Heights.
“And I am so thankful for the commitment to enable, not only our visitors, but Jamaicans alike to do organised hikes into Wareika Hills. There is also a vision to establish a cable car system that will take peopleâ€¦ from Windward Road up into the hills,” added Paulwell while pointing to the stigma that has dogged that community for years.
He noted that the Eastern Kingston Promenade represents part of his efforts to improve the infrastructure in the constituency which he has represented for the past 26 years.
“I thought we would try to have here a wall that depicts the history, the culture, the development of not only east Kingston but of Jamaica,” said Paulwell as he pointed out that he personally supervised every one of the 138 panels of the wall that forms the promenade.
Bartlett was just as fulsome in his praise of Paulwell as he told the audience that the promenade is a legacy of artistic expression and community pride that will continue to inspire and captivate generations to come.
“We are partners in another cause and we have a common drive to enhance, to change, and to create what I call added value,” said Bartlett who, in his speaking notes, congratulated Paulwell for being the guiding light behind the project.
“The Member of Parliament, in his own inspired way, has thought of what do we do to help to change communities. And I think that is well recognised by all of us that Jamaica has to have a transformation, and that transformation has to begin with the people because that is the essence of what is Jamaica,” added Bartlett.
The Eastern Kingston Promenade was done under the aegis of the Tourism Product Development Company Limited.