JIS News

The Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) is actively engaged in forging sister-city relationships with established cities across the world, aimed at mutual exchange and development of the City of Kingston.

In an interview with JIS News, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, said that the city of Kingston is strategic in its pursuit of partnerships with other cities.

“I think people believe that you establish these relationships between cities and they go nowhere. That is not my experience, because we try for them to work. What we do is look carefully at those cities, how they are organised, what they emphasise, the strength of those cities, and to see whether or not there are features within those cities that would be suited for the city of Kingston, and then we pursue with them and they do respond,” Mayor Williams said.

A known sister city of Kingston is Miramar in Florida. The two were officially twinned in 2018 and frequently engage each other in the area of disaster risk mitigation.

This, Mayor Williams shared, is a “never-ending conversation” and a “good relationship” between both cities.

The KSAMC has also established a relationship with the city of Chengdu in China. Chengdu is home to more than 16 million people, and in recent times, transformed itself into the art and culture capital of China’s southwestern region. Chengdu, like Miramar, often exchanges technical expertise with Kingston.

“We have had a very meaningful relationship with Chengdu. There are some projects that we are doing here in the city of Kingston that we would have dialogue with them on and they would have shared expertise and also designs on those projects. So, we have this kind of relationship with Chengdu where any project that we are embarking on, of a certain nature, we would share it with them and say ‘this is what we’re doing, this is what we’re thinking. How can you help’?” explained Mayor Williams.

The proposed design change to the front pathway of the Ward Theatre is a display of the technical expertise shared between the sister cities.

Mayor Williams disclosed that some of the ideas being contemplated by the KSAMC, which manages the historical theatre at North Parade, downtown Kingston, came from the city of Chengdu.

Additionally, after visiting Miramar’s cultural centre, the city supplied plans to the KSAMC to aid in the renovation of the Ward Theatre.

The KSAMC has also been taking notes from other cities in the hope of implementing learned strategies within Kingston. One such is Mexico City with the pedestrianisation of select streets and security within the city.

“We did have conversation with Mexico City and inquired with respect to what was the result the pedestrianisation of those streets. All the data we have gotten there [showed] that sales increased around the range of 400 per cent after pedestrianisation and because we are considering pedestrianisation for some areas of the downtown area of our city, it made the visit to Mexico City quite fruitful,” Mayor Williams said.

“In Mexico City we observed the strategic placing of police personnel and the use of a command centre to monitor the streets, in the pursuit of public safety. That is something that we have started to pursue, in terms of building our command centre here at the municipality,” he added.

Similarly, observations were made of the city of Birmingham, Alabama, with which the KSAMC is currently developing a relationship. Within Birmingham are economies developed around university spaces.

“We believe that the Papine area, the August Town area and some sections of Kintyre would be served well if we plan it well to have those areas tied into the university, as what you could say loosely is an economy based on the university. That is something we are looking to pursue,” the Mayor said.

The concept of sister cities is a broad-based, long-term relationship between communities in different countries, where partnership is pursued in thematic areas to the benefit of both communities.

 

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