“This is beyond my expectations,” was how Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, described the success of Wednesday’s (December 16) downtown Kingston “Grand Market”.
The event, organised by the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) with the support of Scotiabank, the Gleaner Company, the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, was a huge success with thousands of shoppers filling the streets.
“It’s minutes to five and, as you can see, it is wall-to-wall on King Street,” the Mayor pointed out, when confronted by the media for his views on the campaign aimed at restoring downtown Kingston as the City’s prime commercial area, especially at Christmas.
“Every road in downtown, stretching as far back as East Queen Street, from Duke Street going right back to Darling Street; every single road in the market district is buzzing with shoppers, not just curious persons, but persons who are purchasing items,” Mayor McKenzie noted.
“I am really feeling good about the response. People have responded in a very positive way, which speaks volumes for the efforts that we have made,” he added.
Minister of National Security, the Hon Dwight Nelson, and the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, the Hon Dorothy Lightbourne, who joined the Mayor on a tour of King Street during the afternoon, both made positive comments about the event.
“The Mayor deserves all the encomiums we can heap on him for this excellent expression of creativity, in trying to show the people of Jamaica that there is value in downtown,” Senator Nelson said.
“I walk around and look at the faces of the vendors and the shoppers and it exudes a kind of confidence that I have not seen in downtown in years. I think this should be repeated every season,” Senator Nelson suggested.
Senator Lightbourne said that the prices of the goods, especially for children, were excellent compared to those offered anywhere else in Jamaica.
“This is what Jamaica is all about, and I hope it is not just for Christmas, because it will be good for downtown,” she said.
The campaign dubbed, ‘Christmas in the City, Downtown Comes Alive’, kicked off Thursday (December 10) with the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, at the newly refurbished St. William Grant Park.
Other major events so far have included: the Bank of Nova Scotia’s 120th Anniversary Church Service on Sunday; the King Street Parade and presentation of the Key to the City to the BNS on Monday; and the Grand Market on Wednesday, which will highlighted fashions produced downtown.
A Feast of Choirs at Orange Park on Thursday (December 17) and the Mayor of Kingston’s Christmas Treat for the Needy on Sunday, December 20 are among the other highlights.
The Coronation Market will also be included in the programme on Saturday (December 19), when Minister of Agriculture, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, will be special guest.
The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is providing late night buses downtown during the period, and the Jamaica Public Service Company has installed new solar street lights in some areas.