Mon­tego Bay needs an iconic gate­way!

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - CLOVIS TOON -

Lead­ers dis­re­spect Mon­tego Bay by this ris­i­ble of­fer of a twofaced sign. It’s like a type­writer to a child. This is the 21st cen­tury, peo­ple!

The un­der­whelm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of He­roes’ Oval should have taught us les­sons. Ja­maica is the largest, black-ruled, 92.1 per cent black, An­glo­phone na­tion in the West and should be the artis­tic bea­con of the African Di­as­pora. We are a unique prod­uct of Africa’s transat­lantic slav­ery; a feat not achieved by Africa’s trans-sa­hara or trans-in­dian Ocean slave trades. We lead in ar­eas good and bad, so let’s use this op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate tourism iconog­ra­phy not seen in a black na­tion.

This pricey sign fills us with dis­may as it is a para­dox that a na­tion with pri­vate achiev­ers as Usain Bolt and Bob Mar­ley has such a deficit of pub­lic vi­sion. Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness must change the conversation: “My Cab­i­net, let’s look at what Mon­tego Bay re­ally needs, then how do we af­ford it (five ho­tels give US$200,000 each, cor­po­rates, the Di­as­pora)?”

We be­lieve an iconic gate­way from a de­sign meet is best; not a sign pain­ter’s coven. “Hey, Goosie, a wah kinda blue dem buy fi dis yah sign? Mi a go mix it wid some a dis nedda colour.”

But what is Mobay in the na­tional ecosystem that we should care? It’s just a small city. Not so!

Fi­nan­cially, Mobay our cash cow; FX pro­ducer ex­traordi- naire, brand-wise it is our face greet­ing mil­lions, spir­i­tu­ally it is our cap­i­tal of cool and cour­tesy. Tourists come in good times and bad, whether with good min­is­ters or bad, as only prob­lems at home stop them. But our Mobay is also about peo­ple who own, serve, en­ter­tain, do name­less jobs, or are job­less, but they add to the sum of joy and fun. In my vi­sion, visitors should en­ter the city, eyes up­lifted in won­der at our icon, then amazed by what’s in the rear-view mir­ror, and later take self­ies for back home. No tawdry big arches!

We are fed up of liv­ing “un­der cir­cum­stances”, gorg­ing our artis­tic souls on “wat lef!” After decades of con­di­tion­ing we eat what Amer­i­cans dis­card and now love the chicken back we once hated. Lead­ers de­base our diet, aes­thet­ics “give them of­fal and they will learn to love it”! Can the ‘Bay’ start a trend where we pam­per our­selves a bit? Why al­ways the cheapest for our masses? It is our Monaco, Riviera; no Big Ben, Eif­fel Tower; yes, it may need a sign and $17 mil­lion may be over­priced, but once, the Air­ports Au­thor­ity of Ja­maica’s board had US$250,000 to spend on a gate­way for the Bay.

Lead­ers now are so stingy when it is a pub­lic item that gen­er­a­tions to come may curse their parsimony. They spare no ex­pense on their houses, cars, travel, but penny-pinch on the pub­lic good. Hol­ness’s air miles alone could build it. God bless Kings­ley Thomas for Eman­ci­pa­tion Park — the best Na­tional Hous­ing Trust spend ever. What else is there for the masses? Ev­ery town needs one.

Tainos left us lit­tle; the Span­ish were not here long, but in Cuba, Do­mini­can Repub­lic we see their mo­dus operandi — wives, kids, pets; opera houses, sport are­nas, gal­leries, side­walk cafés, gam­ing — they came to stay! The Bri­tish were pass­ing through; ran mines, colonies, es­tates, then took

La­touche spoke of the sit­u­a­tion with his “heart full”. He said he has at­tended over 160 funer­als for re­turn­ing res­i­dents, many of them the vic­tims of vi­o­lent crime, who found no rest in their homes. He has spo­ken out strongly against the po­lice as he be­lieves they are not do­ing enough to deal with the threats against re­turn­ing res­i­dents.

The Gov­ern­ment of the day has taken steps to im­ple­ment a task force aimed at ad­dress­ing the safety and se­cu­rity home leave! Ja­maican aes­thetic is the lees of nig­gardly Bri­tish, Taino residues, imag­in­ings of Africa, Amer­i­can and Bri­tish TV. Our artistes were im­mersed in Amer­i­can, Bri­tish pop for decades be­fore one global icon — Bob Mar­ley. So there is hope for our de­sign com­mu­nity and a Mon­tego Bay icon is the fod­der they need, then voilá!

A gate­way for Mon­tego Bay or Kingston is no new idea, as in the 90s de­signs were done. The Air­ports Au­thor­ity of Ja­maica from its Us-dol­lar profit on for­eign air­lines had an air show which de­lighted more than one mil­lion in Kingston and Mobay — largest au­di­ence ever; traf­fic jam from Moun­tain View to old run­way. Some two mil­lion Ja­maicans had never been in air­ports their taxes built — pay­back! The Air­ports Au­thor­ity of Ja­maica also set a process to de­sign these gate­ways; re­serve land on verges con­sis­tent with airspace and traf­fic edicts were in the brief, and one ar­chi­tect sub­mit­ted a con­cept of mono­lithic, an­odised alu­minium col­umns from Canada (Ja­maican baux­ite) and a path into nearby sand dunes to a sea­side oa­sis. Sadly, there is no pro­to­col for an con­cerns. In July of this year, it was re­ported that the task force will in­clude mem­bers from the re­turn­ing res­i­dents as­so­ci­a­tions, the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force, and the Di­as­pora Af­fairs Depart­ment of the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs. The Gov­ern­ment has de­clared that it wants a bet­ter life for our peo­ple. We can­not throw away our peo­ple who have made marks of de­vel­op­ment not only at home, but abroad as well. Let’s not lose it. out­go­ing to brief an in­com­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tion, so the work died — as did the Us-dol­lar bal­ances. Ja­maicans look back in anger as they have noth­ing to look for­ward to; so do right by the Bay to­day!

Mon­tego Bay must not suf­fer by our deficits of vi­sion or con­tro­versy. It is the best we have. The Bay is a proven pro­ducer, not a risky in­vest­ment, and more self­ies will be taken of a gate­way than a two-faced sign. So, en­gage de­sign gu­rus for a mas­ter­work to open at the start of the next tourist sea­son, and Ed Bartlett can in­vite the world! Like Bolt, let our de­sign­ers vie with the global best so we have a gate­way to wel­come 10 mil­lion tourists by 2030. Even Don­ald Trump can­not move the Statue of Lib­erty. A gate­way is for­ever. Stay con­scious!

Franklin John­ston, d Phil (Oxon), is a strate­gist and project man­ager; Fel­low of the Char­tered In­sti­tute of Lo­gis­tics and Trans­port (UK); and lec­tures in lo­gis­tics and sup­ply chain man­age­ment at Mona school of Busi­ness and Man­age­ment, The Univer­sity of the West In­dies. send com­ments to the Ob­server or franklin­john­ston­[email protected] Fairy tale or bad joke

The con­tin­u­ing saga of that cer­tain in­sti­tu­tion that has high-spend­ing ways con­tin­ues to con­found and as­tound. Calls are be­ing made for those re­spon­si­ble for the wrong­do­ing to get a lovely pair of Stateis­sued bracelets. Mek wi see what a go hap­pen nuh.

Bar­bara Gloudon is a jour­nal­ist, play­wright and com­men­ta­tor. send com­ments to the Ob­server or [email protected]

The views ex­pressed on this page are not nec­es­sar­ily those of the Ja­maica Ob­server.

The old ‘Wel­come to Mon­tego Bay’ sign.

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