Central Kingston scheme gets needed facelift
Residents of the Fleet Street Housing Scheme in Southside, central Kingston, are beaming with excitement and relief amid the commencement of the long-awaited infrastructure development.
Member of Parliament (MP) Donovan Williams had announced in October 2021, during the State of the Constituency Debate, that the community, more commonly called 'Site', would be spruced up under a programme funded by the National Housing Trust. The announcement was met with some degree of scepticism by residents, who felt they were empty promises coming from the first-time MP, who won his seat on a Jamaica Labour Party ticket in the September 2020 general election.
"About 45 years now since the scheme no get a facelift, so this brings a really great feeling," said Michael Bancroft, a project supervisor. Bancroft, who resides in the housing scheme, said that he was particularly happy with the decision to award part-time employment for the youth who live there.
"The main issue here is employment for the youths because most of the females in here do selling. Some deh downtown Kingston and other places. The youths dem don't really have nothing doing. This is a project that is bringing some sort of job for them, which is good. It's a good look, because the employment is from within, and this is benefiting both the young and old inside the scheme," he said.
As the workmen applied different shades and coats of paint to her section of the building, Tamara Williams, 43, smiled in admiration, and said she was "just enjoying the view".
"I have lived here for all my life and this is the first time I am witnessing this. The 'pretty up' is one; what we would want next is for the peace to continue, [and] the little court area to renovate so that young people can play them games and such. We also want the permits to start issue, so that we can have some parties again," Williams outlined.
Her joy was matched by her mother, Janet Stamp, who claimed that outsiders are already raving about her scheme's new image.
"I was coming from church on Ash Wednesday and while I was walking downtown Kingston, I heard some police talking about Site. Dem say, 'Bwoy, the colours dem look pretty', and I felt so good and relieved. I have lived here from my daughter was a baby and believe me, this is the first time I am seeing this," she said.
When THE STAR contacted Williams, he said that he was pleased to hear about the positive feedback and has promised that more developments are forthcoming.
"We are going to pave the roads and the parking area, landscape some of the areas, and [put in] new gates. A lot of development will be coming to the housing scheme, as promised," he stated.