Attempting to attract visitors to Jamaica’s capital city, Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams has assured South Florida residents who make up a sizeable portion of the Jamaican Diaspora, that they’ll be safe whenever they choose to visit Kingston.
The city was once known for its vibrant nightlife and was a destination of choice for visitors to the Caribbean island. However, crime and poor infrastructural development resulted in the drastic decline of visitor arrivals over the past two decades.
Now, many visitors opt to travel to Jamaica’s north coast resorts and stay in all-inclusive hotels rather than visit Kingston.
But Mayor Williams says a number of measures have been implemented, and others are in the pipeline that will make a visit to Jamaica’s bustling capital an enjoyable and hazard free one.
Speaking to CNW during his recent visit to South Florida where he addressed a town hall meeting in conjunction with Mayor Wayne Messam of Miramar, Williams assured potential visitors that they had very little to fear.
“We have been dealing with the issue of public order in the city. The issue of crime is one that the central government and the KSAC are working feverishly on. The government has just drafted a comprehensive anti-crime plan which is workable. We are confident it will bear fruit. We have more than a million people travelling to the city daily, and about 600,000 at night, and very few persons are victims of crime. You will be safe when you visit Kingston!” Williams emphasized.
Despite having a relatively high murder rate, visitors to Jamaica are rarely affected as the country is hugely dependent on tourism. Most murder victims are killed during gang conflicts in concentrated hot spots.
“We know there are issues, but as a visitor you are unlikely to be harmed if you act as you would in any city around the world. Kingston is no different,” the mayor said.
Williams also cited the government would be implementing measures to ensure the visitor experience is enhanced. Historic sites like the Ward Theater and the Victoria Craft Market would be upgraded to “first world status.”
Downtown Kingston has been earmarked for infrastructural development through the Kingston Restoration initiative being undertaken by private sector and non-profit organizations.
A number of private companies including GraceKennedy and Digicel, have constructed modern offices close to the Kingston waterfront. Plans are also afoot to relocate the Police Commissioner’s Office in downtown, Kingston.
The mayor also said, housing in communities in and around Kingston will be improved.
“We have to ensure housing and community facilities in and around downtown, Kingston is suitable. We understand that improving the standard of living residents in these communities is essential to improving the city,” Williams said.
Williams and Mayor Messam have both signaled their intention to fast track the twinning of both cities and to cement plans to bolster bilateral relations, trade and cultural exchange.