Raw sewage posing health risk, damage to businesses in neglected downtown KingstonTuesday, December 07, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
RAW sewage has been flowing at sections of Orange and West Queen streets in downtown Kingston since last Friday, placing people's health at risk and affecting businesses as the commercial hub of the capital city continues to reel from administrative neglect.
Yesterday the Jamaica Observer witnessed people trying to avoid the smelly water flowing from a broken sewer main close to the Kremi ice cream store located near the intersection of Heywood and Orange streets.
The water breached the Kremi entrance, forcing the operators to clean the store and lay pallets for customers to walk on.
A Tastee restaurant was also affected by the sewage as large puddles of the waste water formed just outside the door.
The supervisor at Kremi, who gave his name only as Donovan, said he had called the National Water Commission (NWC) on Saturday to report the matter and was told that his message would be passed on to the authorities.
“This is an ice cream depot, as you can see. From Friday we have been having sewage water flooding out the place and causing a lot of problems. The customers can't get to come in because of this water and the stench that it gives off,” he said, unable to mask his frustration.
“As you can see, it came inside. Look over there; we have to put pallets on the ground for the customers and others to walk on. I need them to come down and sort it out,” he said.
Street vendors reported a drop in sales as many shoppers avoided the area.
“It affects me bad, bad, bad because nobody nah really pass out da side yah fi buy nothing. A four day now it a gwaan so — Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday,” said one vendor who gave his name as Qually Don.
A female vendor in front of a drug store on West Queen Street said the sewage overflow is an annual occurrence.
“A every year this happen. Mi nah go seh nutten more because mi nuh legal fi a siddung pon di sidewalk, so mi nah go seh nutten. A Mother's dem you haffi go ask dat,” she said, pointing to the popular fast food chain.
One Rastafarian man, who said he was embarrassed by the conditions in that section of the capital city, criticised the country's leaders.
“If a this a the capital city of the country, you can just imagine the state of the country. Oh God, man! Yuh nuh si seh a hell bottom Jamaica deh? Weh di ruler dem deh? Di Bible weh dem a go church wid seh rulers over men must rule in the fear of God. These men are ruling in the power of Satan,” he said.
“Look deh — where they live is alright, ennuh. You think dem a come yah so? If something drop from yuh, yuh can't even tek it up. Si di girl key drop inna di wata deh an' it gone,” he said, making reference to a woman whose keys had fallen into the filthy water and who, despite numerous attempts, could not locate them.
One disgruntled commuter said, “Right now it wet up mi shoes and mi nuh like that. Si dem a sell food and mi hungry and can't even buy nothing fi eat.”
A man who was placing passengers onto a Toyota Coaster bus expressed disgust at the situation.
“Mi can't feel good 'bout this, mi general. A move mi waan move right now,” he said.
A shopper, who gave her name as Marcia, described the condition as “gross” and said the fact that people had to be selling in that environment was “very despicable”.