JIS News

Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Councillor Desmond McKenzie is currently in Toronto, Canada, garnering support for the May Pen Cemetery Restoration Fund.
Speaking with JIS News, Mayor McKenzie said the Fund, which was launched earlier this year with a $5 million donation from National Commercial Bank (NCB), has been receiving good corporate support in Jamaica. The Fund was now at $25 million, pledged in cash and kind.
The restoration of the cemetery is expected to cost in the region of $50 million and will take about 16 months to complete.
Additional support is being sought from Jamaicans overseas and already, said Mayor McKenzie, there were committees in Florida, Washington, Connecticut and the New York/Tri State area of the United States (US), which were committed to the effort.
While in Toronto, the Mayor and his delegation will hold discussions with members of the Jamaican Canadian Association, the oldest and largest community organization in Canada, and several churches, including Redemption City of Faith Ministries.
The restoration of the cemetery will include repairing the many graves and vaults, which have been damaged over the years, plus the physical infrastructure, including roads, the perimeter fence, chapel, administrative office and changing facilities for workers.
Noting that the May Pen Cemetery was the oldest in the English-speaking Caribbean, dating back to the early 18th Century, Mayor McKenzie said it was of historical significance and could probably become a tourist attraction.
“It is the final resting place for a number of outstanding Jamaicans, including J.A.G. Smith, one of Jamaica’s first legislators; the great West Indian cricketer, Collie Smith; Jamaica’s first Housing Minister; the founder of Kingston City Mission; and the parents of the late Governor General, Sir Florizel Glasspole,” he noted.
While in Toronto, Mayor McKenzie met briefly with his Toronto counterpart, Mayor David Miller. The two exchanged gifts and Mayor McKenzie issued an invitation to his Canadian counterpart to visit Jamaica.
The Jamaican delegation also attended presentations on Toronto’s solid waste management and the regulation and licencing of cemeteries.
Accompanying the Mayor are his wife, Marcia; and Town Clerk, Lincoln Evans.

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