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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Downtown Kingston

Downtown Kingston, which used to be the most important city of British Caribbean Empire, is but a dangerous and dilapidated inner city ghetto today.  I took a bus from New Kingston to Parade in Downtown.  The bus sped through the urban wasteland between New Kingston and Downtown - perhaps the driver was afraid of a highway robbery.  A passenger had to shout for the driver to let her alight the bus.  There were many half destroyed and roofless buildings in this area, and most of the buildings that were standing had their shutters down.  I suspect the few shops that were open probably had paid substantial sums of "protection money" to the many gangs of Kingston's inner ghetto.
 
The Parade area of Downtown was busy with petty traders, commuters, shoppers and evangelical speakers who spoke about hell fire and god through loudspeakers. A hundred meters away, some shopkeepers were bursting everyone's ear drums with loud raggae beat.
 
King Street in Downtown was busy with shoppers and metal-grill guarded shops, an indication of security and law and order issues this part of the city.  Elsewhere in Downtown was quiet and dilapidated as well.  Certainly, Downtown Kingston is not for the faint-hearted.  Neither is it the Bond Street for upper-class Jamaicans.  I wonder if a day would come when Downtown would be revitalised.  It is a pity that such an area of nice Victorian arches and domes have been allowed to degenerate.
 
 

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