Old galvanise sheets form a makeshift roof of a shop in Little Tokyo, Kingstown. (IWN file photo)

Little Tokyo, the bus terminal and commercial area in Kingstown where shops are falling apart, one can see the sky from inside the restroom, and makeshift vending stalls line the seafront, needs more than major repairs: it needs to be knocked down and rebuilt.

That was the conclusion of Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace after visiting the area on Friday as part of the New Democratic Party’s “listening tour” of Kingstown.

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“… the accommodation there is abominable: old pieces of canvas as a roof and quite a few people there trying to do some business in that environment,” Eustace said and spoke of a need for standards.

He told listeners to his weekly radio programme that the situation in little Tokyo “doesn’t uplift your spirit”.

“What you see is more manifestation of poverty and lack of opportunity, lack of an environment that fosters business in our economy and people are involved in all sorts of activities,” Eustace said, noting that quite a few persons conduct business in the area.

He said he visited the area of Little Tokyo where toilet facilities are.

“And that is an absolute disgrace … I could understand when somebody told me you have to use and umbrella when you’re in the toilet because of the conditions I saw there in Little Tokyo,” he said.

The view, looking skywards, from inside the male restroom at Little Tokyo, Kingstown. (IWN photo)
The view, looking skywards, from inside the male restroom at Little Tokyo, Kingstown. (IWN photo)

I-Witness News visited the area this week and the roof of the washroom is so badly deteriorated that one can see the sky from inside. Many of the toilet fitting are also broken.

“I have heard of this before but the extent of the degradation of that place is unbelievable,” Eustace said. “No administration should allow something like that to fester and remain like that for years. We are supposed to be a country not only because of our local people but because we have tourists.

“You can’t carry anybody seriously who want to tour the market and so on where small operators are. You couldn’t carry anybody in there. People will shun any environment like that and it is a disgrace to have our people in an environment like that.

“That thing needs to be knocked down and rebuilt … It’s just not tenable. That just cannot continue to exist much longer,” Eustace said.

“It’s not a matter of patching up; it is about building over. It is a disgrace to the people for this country to allow that facility to run like that.”

Eustace pointed out that that there was no economic growth for four of the last seven year.

He said that at the same time, government has not prioritised the use of limited resources, and cited the millions used to finance the “Vote Yes” referendum campaign of 2009 as an example of wastage.

“You know what that could have done since 2009 to transform Tokyo,” Eustace said, adding that that was just one instance in which such “wastage” has occurred.

“But we have our citizens accommodated in what essentially is a dump,” he said.

“It is a shame and disgrace. They are humans too. And I am calling on the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to do something now about the situation…

“We have no care for our citizens. This government here, to allow them to sit in that squalor day after day after day — I don’t care who get vexed, I am saying what I saw — and as a human being, as a Vincentian human being, I am ashamed of what I see — deeply ashamed, and I know better can be done and better will be done,” he said.

The male restroom at Little Tokyo, Kingstown. (IWN photo)
The male restroom at Little Tokyo, Kingstown. (IWN photo)

Eustace noted that there are rented shops at Little Tokyo.

“I don’t see how people paying rent for what they have,” he said, adding that the New Democratic Party will rebuild the facility and provide training for people who operate in that area, and clean up the general area, to rid it of the makeshift structures.

“We are not a dump and our people are not dumps. There is a minimum standard that is required and we will do everything we can to put a proper standard in place in terms of cleanliness, in terms of the general environment of the place so people can have some pride while they carry out their activities. Any Vincentian would be ashamed to be associated with that,” Eustace said.

In the Budget Address in January, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Ralph Gonsalves said EC$1.3 million has been budgeted for “basic rehabilitative and upgrading work” at Little Tokyo).

He said resources earmarked for this activity in 2014, were redirected to the recovery after the December 2013 storm.

“Restorative work at Little Tokyo is a priority for the city in 2015,” Gonsalves said.

11 replies on “Little Tokyo ‘needs to be knocked down and rebuilt’ — Eustace”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Kingstown badly needs a parkade. This is the perfect spot for one: a 3-story structure with the first floor for shops and the upper two for parking, run by the private sector on behalf of the government.

    The parking fees (hourly; daily; monthly) should be based on the need to pay for the building over a 10-15 year period.

    The parkage should partly be used to displace parking on most of back street and adjacent side streets between 7:00 am and 4:00, Mon-Sat, to ensure a better flow of traffic through town.

    Part of the first floor should be allocated to the vendors who are now a traffic and pedestrian menace in the heart of Kingstown.

    1. Luther Bonadie says:

      C. Ben,
      That new market which was build under the NDP. wasn,t that suppose to have solve that street vending problem. You and I know that it did not worked,now, why do you think that you’re idea of a three story structure will.
      I would bulldozed the whole thing from back street to the sea, and build a srrip mall, rather than a three story structure, one reason any structure their will diminish the ocean view, plus Kingstown don’t need anymore structures on the sea side, it’s ulready too clutered.

      1. C. ben-David says:

        Do you accept the lack of parking in Kingstown, the amount of illegal parking, the traffic jams because of too much street parking, the expropriation of sidewalks by vendors … the list of problems in town is endless?

        Mitchell’s tomb of a market was the wrong project in the wrong place for the wrong reason. We have never had proper urban planning, only mindless vote-getting projects.

  2. Someone should be prosecuted and whoever is running the town board should be given the opportunity to give account of why the area is in such a state of disrepair and no maintenance, if he gives the wrong answer fire his backside.

    I hope that the shop keepers are not being forced to pay rent, because they should be paid compensation for being there.

    It’s an utter disgrace.

  3. Luther Bonadie says:

    Figure this, it took Eustace 14years to see Little Tokyo need rebuilding , or is it because election is in the air he conveniently regained his eyesight.

  4. petergriffin says:

    When elections are in the air politicians make the most grandiose promises so maybe that is what Mr Eaustace is doing.We may or may not ever know depending on the results of the next general elections.But note that I said politicians meaning all of them so why some of us are only commenting on what Mr Eaustace said?There is suddenly millions of dollars worth of lumber,cement and galvanize being distributed in broad daylight and in the still of the night so can some of you please share your thoughts on that.Why all of a sudden so many road repairs in certain constituencies?I personally believe it is because of elections but I may be wrong so the great intellectuals among us with all the sense can share their comments please and tell the dotish ones like me the reason for all the sudden economic activities.

    1. Luther Bonadie says:

      Stop being nieve, Politicans don’t run to be Cleric, they run to win.
      Remember George Bush senior’s campaign on no new taxes, from one side of the month and then the other side of the month he raises taxes.
      President Obama, hailed gays and lesbians the right to marriage.
      My brother don’t mix politics with ethics.
      It’s dog eat dog.

  5. I was there on vacation, and asked were can I use the bathroom? I was told to hold it till I get back to the ship, because the bathrooms are in such bad shape. when you think of a place were people come to shop and spend there hard working money they need a place to pee or have a clean wash room, so sorry for the ones who have there shops there I blame it on the people not speeking up,. the roads are bad the parking is bad the airport is small its a mess I will go to another country next year, im not coming back till this matter is fixed…… people need to stand up and vote and make sure they can get what they should have and that’s a better market everything seems so out of order, people smoking weed in front of kids I can go on and on but………..just a girl from Canada, we don’t keep our country in a mess……. clean up YOUR COUNTRY SO PEOPLE CAN VISIT AND SPEND MONEY….

  6. They must of cleaned up the urinal before they took the photograph. When I looked at it last year it was covered in a dreadful stinking yellow slime.

    You can be sure in that visual yellow slime bacterial mass we can expect to find E-Coli, Staphylococcus Aureus, Streptococcus, Campylobacter, and Salmonella.

    Sanitary conditions in Vincentian public places have always been a major problem, especially in mens urinals! The Health department should be continually checking the cleanliness and safety of these bacteria breeding grounds to prevent the spread of sickness and disease. But in Kingstown they do nothing about toilets, like they do nothing about kitchen waste type sewage flowing from restaurants into the open drain system beside the roads in Kingstown. The filth is what encourages the rat infestation in the town, at the moment its worse than its ever been.

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