Baptiste wants fresh, clean look for City
June 16, 2006

Baptiste wants fresh, clean look for City

In a move to revitalize Kingstown, Minister of Urban Development Rene Baptiste and representatives of various statutory and non-statutory organisations who make up the Urban Development Task Force, did a walk-through of the capital on Monday, June 12 to come up with ideas about how the city could be improved.

Beginning their tour at the Cruise Ship berth, Minister Baptiste pointed out that cramped areas such as the Marketing Corporation complex and storeroom, needed to be looked into. She noted that the practice of traffickers using the sides of the street to off-load their provisions narrowed the road for vehicles passing in and out the vicinity. {{more}}The Minister noted that this was a potentially dangerous situation and proposed that the warehouse be moved to give easier accessibility.

Baptiste pointed out areas in the city where there were parking problems, traffic congestion and vending causing many areas to look like shanty towns.

She explained, “We have to come up with solutions. Vendors are not going to stay in locations where they are not going to get sales. People are coming back out to the streets because they are getting sales. They are not going to stay in a location where they can’t sell no matter what you do. It’s all about location, location, location. The over-riding factor is that they are vendors, they need to make a living, so we have to figure out the next best place to put them.”

She pleaded with Vincentians to stop littering since it not only made the city untidy, but also blocked the drains. Baptiste called for more mitigation, and noted that with the prediction of a busy hurricane season, blocked drains were hazardous and could cause serious flooding.

Pointing out a tree stump in the mouth of the river at South River Road, Minister Baptiste refused to accept the explanation that river was too small to accommodate the heavy machinery needed to remove the stump.

She chided,”Before there was heavy machinery, there was man power, so why don’t we get someone to go down there and remove the tree trunk? It is about getting the job done, not making excuses. We have people in different departments being paid to do a job and we need to get the small things right.”

Baptiste, who is also Culture Minister also expressed disappointment that many of the historic cobblestones on the sidewalks and streets of Kingstown were being covered with concrete instead of being repaired.

Proposals for the revamping of Kingstown will be sent to parliament within six months, but short-term solutions will be put in place before the proposals are handed over. The next observation tour for the Urban Development Task Force will be on June 19, during which the team will make further notes and give their input.

Members of the Urban Development Task Force include representatives from the Central Water and Sewage Authority (CWSA), the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Roads Department, Solid Waste Management Unit, Vinlec and Public Health Department among others.