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Rip off the band-aid in one swift go!

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“It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must step up the stairs.” – Vaclav Havel

A fitting quote for the current plans to clean up our capital city Kingstown because as much as we all agree that the town is in dire need of a ‘make-over’, we have been here before – at the point where much talking is done, but relatively little action results from it.{{more}}

In August 2012, Minister of Transport, Works, Urban Development and Local Government Julian Francis declared his plans to rid Kingstown of its sanitation and aesthetic ills. However, there was much resistance to the suggestion of moving some vendors from sidewalks and street corners, and re-homing them within the Kingstown Fruit and Vegetable Market.

Granted, the Fruit and Vegetable Market was given a much-needed cleaning; but from the current complaints of many vendors who have stalls inside the building, another deep clean is due.

So, as much as the Minister is to be lauded for his second attempt at rectifying this issue, much more determination and elbow grease will be required. As happened in 2012, many will protest, many will cry foul and/or victimization. But the undeniable truth is that the proverbial band-aid needs to be ripped off in one swift go – easing it off slowly will only prolong the ordeal.

And cleaning up Kingstown is not only about cleaning a few gutters and relocating vendors. It’s also about instilling a sense of pride in Vincentians – whether vendors, business owners or members of the public – to keep their surroundings tidy and hygienic.

Too often passers-by are seen throwing garbage into drains; business owners leave garbage out unprotected, which can be easily accessed and scattered by stray dogs, cats and rather large rodents.

Much of said garbage comprises Styrofoam and plastics, which take a very long time to degrade. In the meantime, said garbage blocks gutters (in a town that already has a poorly constructed drainage system inherited from our colonial past) and creates breeding grounds for many pests – including mosquitoes. With the ever-present threat of Dengue fever and the new threat Zika sweeping the region, a thorough clean-up is essential!

So, by all means, Minister Francis, press forward with Operation Clean-Up Kingstown. Even in the face of resistance that reeks as badly of ignorance as the gutters of Kingstown do of filth and waste; press forward!

And, we’re making a special call for members of the Opposition, in particular, parliamentary representative for Central Kingstown St Clair Leacock, to throw his support behind the effort, this time around.

In fact, this call is being made for all Vincentians to get on board with the initiative. The next time you pass through Kingstown and the sights and smells offend your senses, instead of complaining, ask yourself “how can I make a difference?”

After all, if we waited on the Government – with hands folded – to fix every ailment that afflicts us as a nation, how far would we get in solving them?

Each one of us must take action; no matter how little we think it may be. Carpe diem.

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