KINGSTON — A much more attractive display of flowers and plants should greet visitors to National Heroes Park in Kingston this Heroes Week-end, after a $4 million irrigation well was commissioned into service by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) at the park on Friday (October 7).
Speaking at the ceremony, Executive Director of the NSWMA, Joan Gordon-Webley, said her team will make sure that when people visit the park on Heroes Day, Monday, October 17, they won’t want to leave.
“I want to see lovers holding hands, sitting and conversing under a tree and people studying under a tree. We are going to make sure that the National Heroes Park is a thing to behold,” she told the audience.
Member of Parliament for Central Kingston, Ronald Thwaites, told the gathering that the park, while being a recreational space, could also provide a “wonderful” upliftment environmentally, socially and, economically.
“What a difference it could make, it wouldn’t be only the beautification, because we could use this place for the training of the hundreds of unattached youth for whom jobs are available in the tourism sector and abroad, if they are trained as landscapers, gardeners and horticulturists,” Mr. Thwaites suggested.
Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, who delivered the main address, repeated his call for persons who breach building codes to be punished with more stringent laws.
“These are issues that, as leaders of the country, we must take on board. The laws of the land need to be revisited, to make the penalty much more severe for destruction of our environment. People can’t continue like this, and get away,” the Mayor argued.
The National Heroes Park initiative is being spearheaded by the NSWMA Parks and Garden Division. The NSWMA has opened the first of six plant nurseries at the park, which has a capacity for over 30,000 plants.
National Heroes Park, the former George VI Memorial Park, a 20-hectare botanical garden in downtown Kingston, is the largest open space in the capital city. It was renamed after independence in 1962, and the road around it named National Heroes Circle.
National Heroes Park features numerous monuments, including those to Jamaica's National Heroes, Prime Ministers and cultural leaders, as well as the Jamaica War Memorial, which honours Jamaicans killed in combat during World War I and World War II.
By Garfield Angus, JIS Reporter