The Gleaner, North America Jan 05, 2022 - Feb 04, 2023

EVERY DAY when I’m out talking to my fellowNewYorkers across the five boroughs, I hear the same things. All of us want a strong economy, safe streets and subways; more affordable housing; support for working families and a great education for our children. When I took office as your mayor a year ago, I pledged that we would Get Stuff Done in these areas, and I am proud to report that we have done just that. The economy is roaring back, with over 150,000 private-sector jobs added between January and October. Subway ridership is higher than it has been in two years. Tourism has recovered to 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, supporting jobs across every sector, from hotels to restaurants, bars and shops. After two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, NewYork City is back. I can feel the energy everywhere I go, and I can see the difference fromwhen I was on the campaign trail. Much of this is due to our determination to focus on public safety from day one. While New York remains the safest big city in America, we know that people need to be safe and to feel safe. That’s why we worked so hard to address crime, disorder, and quality of life issues on every front. The good news is that crime is down. Major crimes have dropped this November fromwhere they were a year ago; and transit crime is down nearly 13 per cent – due in large part to our surge of NYPD officers in the transit system. We’ve removed nearly 7,000 illegal guns from our streets, and gun arrests are at a 27-year high. At the same time, we are offering alternative pathways to New Yorkers living in areas that are at high risk for gun violence – for example, job opportunities and training with organisations like BlocPower. ENVIRONMENTALLY RESILIENT Housing our neighbours has never beenmore important; and I have called for an all-hands-on-deck effort to build half a million new units of housing over the next 10 years. We are already scaling up our efforts on this front, building more affordable housing across the five boroughs, and investing in improving the public housing that already exists. We are also connecting NewYorkers in need to stable housing, and are taking boldmeasures to help our brothers and sisters with severe mental illness leave the streets and receive the medical support and services they urgently require. Our young people have struggled over the past two years. We must make sure that they have the tools to recover from the isolation of the pandemic and to succeed in their careers and lives. So, we expanded the summer youth employment programme to serve 90,000 young New Yorkers over the past summer. We’ve instituted dyslexia screenings in our schools so that all our students can learn to read fluently; and we extended our services to youth in foster care so we can now support young people ages 21-26, who are facing the challenges of transitioning to independent adult lives. And we are supporting our working families by increasing the earned income tax credit for the first time in over 20 years, putting $350 million dollars in the pockets of hard-working New Yorkers who need a break. A safe city is also a clean and environmentally resilient city. We started the largest-in-the-nation composting programme in Queens, which we hope to expand citywide. We are making sure that trash doesn’t collect in neglected areas, like underpasses; and we are limiting the amount of time residential trash can be left out on the sidewalk in an effort to reduce our rat population. Our city continues to face challenges, but as 2022 draws to a close there is much to be optimistic about. It is an honour to be mayor of the greatest city in world, And I’mproud of what our city has accomplished together. I’m looking forward to working for you and with you to get stuff done for our city in 2023 and beyond. - Eric Adams is Mayor of New York City. THE MONTHLY GLEANER | JANUARY 5 - FEBRUARY 4, 2023 | | 8 OPINION #GLNROPED The Gleaner welcomes your views on any issue. Preference will be given to letters of 300 words or less. They must bear the writer’s name, address and telephone contact. If using a pen name, you must state your full name. Your name and address will be withheld on request. EMAIL US: or WRITE US: Editor, The Gleaner Company (Media) Ltd, 7 North Street, PO Box 40, Kingston, or fax: (876)922-6223 [ LETTER OF THEWEEK ] THERE ARE some positives to be eked out of the assault on the Devon House courtyard by the governors of the property in breach of their duty of care to the property’s history and of its value to the well-being of Jamaicans, especially those who live in the capital. The first good is the great public outrage over the courtyard’s ‘degreening’ and the strip mall-style tiling of the area. People’s anger at what has so far been done might give the culprits pause, causing them to think carefully before there is any further defacement of Devon House. Second, things could have been worse. Thankfully, they did not start the ‘renovation’on either the northern or western lawns. The grass may have been uprooted and old trees chopped down to be replaced with interlocking paving stones and vine-covered trestles. Devon House has historic and sentimental value for Jamaicans. It was built in 1881 by George Stiebel, reputed to be the island’s first black millionaire, on the lands of the old Anglican rectory. Mr Stiebel, who made his fortune mining in Latin America, purchased the property from the church. Devon House has been owned by the Government since the 1960s. It is now a national heritage site and a public place of recreation, with craft-themed stores and restaurants. MORE THAN AESTHETICS However, the Devon House issue is about more than aesthetics. There is something profound in the distress. While it may not be articulated exactly this way, the emotion embraces the fear of something deeply important to a society’s well-being being diminished or irretrievably lost. It is of green spaces in the context of recreation. Kingston and St Andrew are in the midst of a relative building boom. Higher allowable densities and a seemingly gung-ho disregard for restrictive covenants by some developers have led to the rapid construction of multistorey apartment and townhouse complexes across the municipality. Old neighbourhoods of sprawling bungalows and manicured lawns are in retreat, overtaken and replaced by the new high-rises. There are no compensatory green spaces. Suburban folks increasingly feel hemmed in. For many city dwellers, Devon House, like Emancipation Park and Hope Gardens, offered respite – an oasis of escape from the concrete drabness of their communities, and, for too many, the cramped spaces of their existence. They also feel safe. Indeed, should anyone care to really observe, they would note the demographic mix of the people who use Devon House and the capital’s other available, developed, and secure parks. Parents and children gambol or relax on lawns. In quiet corners, students sometimes study. People, including brides and grooms and their wedding parties, take pictures. There is great value in these things. In addition to an individual’s psychological well-being, they contribute to social cohesion – and the cementing of families. And to a lessening of friction, which contributes to a reduction in antisocial behaviour and, therefore, of crime. BAFFLING In that context – of Devon House as a soft, lush, and relatively intimate place of recreation – it is baffling that the Tourism Enhancement Fund, sanctioned by those who, purportedly, are obliged to protect the facility, would spend over $70 million on a project, supposedly undertaken in the interest of the people who use the place. Yet no one asked these people what they wanted. If they were asked, it was in muted tones. No one heard. In any event, those questions must be clear and stark and the ensuing discussion full and frank. They should have explored matters such as the relative merits of grass and concrete in, say, photosynthesis, and their impact on the environment. Further, the Devon House matter also retrains attention on the use of Jamaica’s land and the inefficient allocation of this limited resource. The Government, for instance, continues with its plan to build a city on Jamaica’s “most fertile … A1 soil” at Bernard Lodge, St Catherine, rather than leaving it for agriculture. Instead, it should concentrate on urban renewal. The Government is also moving forward with the plan to construct a new parliament building at the National Heroes Park rather than developing the area as green space for recreation. Hopefully, the public outcry will cause the Devon House honchos to calibrate and otherwise cause officialdom to seriously consider the value of green spaces for recreation. Indeed, as we have argued previously, recreation, in the appropriate environment, also provides an opportunity for recreation. Which also spells upliftment and transformation. The defacement of Devon House A Year of Getting Stuff Done! Eric Adams “...You don’t need even a class in sociology to know that children cannot be raised properly by accident or default, and they do not usually do as well as self-rising flour in raising themselves either. Seemingly, parents are not only forgetful of the cruciality of their influence on their children as significant persons, but unmindful too of the dangers to which they expose their children when they are left with ignorant and irresponsible others,”writes Rev Clinton Chisholm. Empowering families as agents of change THE MONTHLY GLEANER | FEBRUARY 14 - MARCH 16, 2022 | | FEATURE 2 >> Page 8 Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, will be the toast of Washington, DC, at th 9th annual David ‘Wagga’ Hunt Scholarship Award Red Carpet Ball on February 20. Phyllis Barnes NEW YORK Garfield Grandison - Manager Normadelle Rose - Office Supervisor 92-05 172nd Street, Jamaica, NY 11433, 718-657-0788 Aubrey Campbell Aniceto Rodriguez Ruiz, first counsellor and head of cooperation for Jamaica, raps with Shaqwayne Williams (right) and Marcello Richards from the Regent Street Basic School located in Denham Town, Kingston. The European Union, along with JSIF, conducted a tour of the community on Wednesday. KENYON HEMANS/PHOTOGRAPHER 1955: PRESIDENT of Haiti, Paul Eugene agloire, sets foo n Jamaican soil and makes hisory as the first president of th neighbouring Ca ibbean repu lic to visit Jamaica. In th company of Madame Magloire and an entourage of officers, Magloi e arrive by a specially-chart red Pan-American Airways p an which brings him to the Palisado s Airport fromOttawa, Canada. His visit was in connecti n with the c lebration of the Jamaican Tercenentary. 1966: Shipping history is made in the Jamaica when the 52,000-ton“United States”Ship - the largest ever to me to th Island, docks at the new piers of western terminals at New PortWest in Kingston. Paying a one-day visit to Kingst n as part of a Caribbean cruis , the pride of t e United States Line arrives with 809 cruise passengers, including 200 Shriner Pass ngers. 1969: Roland Michener, governor gene al of Canada and Mrs Michener, as part of their state visit journeys to St A n where Michener unveils a plaque at the Walkers Wood Primary Sc ool an officially declares the school open. In unveiling the plaque, Michener says that of all for s of cooperation, no e appealed to him as much as cooperation in education and therefore the unveiling of the plaque at Walkers Wood is even more significant t him. TheW lkersWo d School is one of several const ucted by the joint effort of the Canadian and Jamaican governments. email This Day In Our Past: February 14 1969: Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Councillor Phillip Brown (left) as he was introduced to t G vernor General of Cana a, the Rt. on . Roland Michener (second from right), at Walkers Wo d Prima y school in St. Ann on February 14, by the Minister of Education, the Hon. Edwin A len (right). A Parliam ntary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Arthur Williams, looks on. FILE MUST READS >> Page 7 Karen Morris-Clarke is vying for a sea on the Wellington Village Council on March 8 this year. >> Page 14 Vancouver businessman Bryan Johnson aims to i spir black youth o pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). >> Page 13 The Bob Marley ‘One Love Experience’ exhibition had its official opening at the Saatchi Gallery in Kings Road, London last week, and fans of the Jamaican reggae icon are reportedly in for a treat. >> Page 19 Film-makers Jennifer Hol ss and Sudz Sutherland expl re Bl ck History as Canadian History in a new series ‘BLK: An Origin Story’ to be aired on the History channel starting the last weekend of February. To purchase the featured photographs or other archival materials, please contact us at 876-932-6231