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The Executive Director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) Joan Gordon-Webley, has said that the agency is committed to improving National Heroes Park as a place of national pride and safe relaxation for all.
“Heroes Park is coming under some special treatment. Very soon I am going to invite all the Ministries in and around National Heroes Park to come and have lunch..the National Heroes Park will be the place for that. We are going to be putting up a little juice bar; the buses will roll in and the school children will have a good time. We are going to make sure that tourists will come to visit the National Heroes Park and that Jamaicans will see it as a place to be on Sundays,” Mrs. Gordon- Webley said during the 25th anniversary awards ceremony of the agency on June 5 at the Courtleigh Auditorium in Kingston.
The treatment of National Heroes Park is being done under the Authority’s Parks and Markets Division, which has a nursery that is producing plants for all of the parks and verges under its administration. Fifty members of staff are being trained in gardening skills to NVQJ standards through HEART Trust/NTA. This group will provide additional income generating services for the Authority.
Speaking of the need for this training Mrs. Gordon-Webley noted that the supervision of the parks will not be done by contract but by direct NSWMA supervision. “To be able to beautify Jamaica is not just about whacking (cutting grass),” she said about the need to have qualified staff.
Mrs. Gordon-Webley is also calling on the public to help by donating plants and by employing the agency to do pruning and other garden services to help it to make this goal a reality in the shortest time. She also asked plant lovers to stop removing the plants the Authority has set out in public spaces.
She said, “I am asking the public at large to bring in their shrubs, invite us to set plants in your garden. We can’t buy enough but with your help we can get every plant we need.It is totally impossible for us to purchase plants to do that so we are going to propagate our own plants. We have started to move through Jamaica to cut plants because in very short order, we are going to satisfy our taxpayers as to how Jamaica looks. I want to beg the public, please leave the plants alone when we put them in. We want to beautify the place but we need your aid.”
The NSWMA has the responsibility to maintain Heroes Park, Papine and Mandela and the Parks and Gardens Division has earned significant revenue by securing gardening and other contracts. Key to this is the fleet of 100 trucks with compactor, crane and tipping functions. Currently, the agency has contracts with the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), the National Water Commission (NWC) and private sector companies. Among the more visible areas being maintained by the NSWMA is the corridor from Six Miles to Twickenham Park and tourism resort areas along the North Coast.