Gardens of Kingston: Auntie Annette works to uplift Tivoli
Annette Irving's stern facial expression can be quite intimidating at first glance. Her tone is no different, and readily tells you that she is a no-nonsense person. But it takes less than a few minutes to realise that she has the best interest of her Tivoli Gardens community at heart.
When THE STAR met Irving, she was in a sombre mood, having just learnt of the fiery death of a man in the community. As she does her laundry in her yard, the woman, who the children of West Kingston refers to as 'Auntie Annette', was very happy to speak about recent community activities, including the children and senior citizens' treat which she helped to organise.
"We have this senior citizens' treat from Jesus was a little boy, but this year was really overwhelming. We usually cater for like a 1,000 persons, but this year we went way over 1,000. We cater for west Kingston, but there were persons from different parishes who came to Kingston to camp out for it. Persons start coming for their tickets like three weeks before, " she said, noting that the treat was held at the community centre in Tivoli Gardens on December 21.
"We had live entertainment for them this year, and a pastor was on board to preach for them. We also provide cook lunch, and they all received a nice little package when they were leaving.
This is something that the seniors look forward to every year. To stop it would be like a blow to their faces because even if they were not remembered by anyone during the year, they know they will be recognised at the end of the year," she said.
Irving has high praises for Tivoli's Member of Parliament (MP) Desmond McKenzie, who she said always places special emphasis on senior citizens and children.
"It wasn't for just the seniors that can walk. We attend to those who are bedridden as well. We had a representative go to homes where persons are shut- ins so they can feel the love as well. Our MP has a lot of love in his heart. He is always present at these events to give the senior citizens a hug, no matter what state they are in, and help to pack their bags. These events are a part of who he is," said Irving, who was born and raised in the community.
According to Irving, while Tivoli has had its low moments, it has been a rewarding year, especially for the various clubs, which all excelled in their designated area. She anticipates a prosperous 2019 for the area and hopes that unity will be the order of the day.