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Pallet wood furniture will be banned in Kingstown, says Minister of Urban Development, Sen. Julian Francis. (IWN photo)
Pallet wood furniture will be banned in Kingstown, says Minister of Urban Development, Sen. Julian Francis. (IWN photo)
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A comment by a visitor is spurring Minister of Urban Development, Sen. Julian Francis, to focus on cleaning up Kingstown again — after a five-year break.

Francis told Parliament that the nation has for years been talking about tourism, tourism sites, and developing the country.

“… but I think that Kingstown, right now, is in a state where we have to clean it up. It is the intention of this ministry to tackle this early in this year; not next year,” Francis said during the debate of the 2016 Estimates on Friday.

He said he has started work on this and has spoken to all operators at Heritage Square and told them the Government intends to clean it up.

“All these old tents and storage bins and so on will have to go. I will use BRAGSA, zip up the whole square, put pavement on it. I am not putting no pressure on the Minister of Finance on this. We will find the resources to do it, one way or the other,” Francis said.

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“I have spoken to the CEO of the chamber of Commerce and it is my intention to host and call a meeting of all business owners, building, property owners in Kingstown into one hall and we are going to have a series of discussion on the approach to cleaning up Kingstown. Trust me, what I started four, five years ago, we will get it advanced in 2016.”

A section of the bus terminal at Little Tokyo. (IWN photo)
A section of the bus terminal at Little Tokyo. (IWN photo)


Francis said the walked through Little Tokyo, Kingstown during the week before the Estimates.

“And I am appalled at the condition inside of Little Tokyo. The stench, I had to move,” Francis said

He said his ministry intends to come up with a plan to “clean up Little Tokyo, clean up the city and make Kingstown as pretty as it used to be.”

Francis said he heard a tourist comment in Kingstown, saying, “Wow! This place is filthy.”

“It struck me in the middle of my stomach,” Francis, who is also Minister of Transport and Works, told Parliament.

He said he wants to introduce a ban on pallet wood.

“We use pallet wood to do everything in town and some conditions have to be put at the port and with business houses, and with container owners that when this pallet wood comes in that we have to have proper control on it,” Francis said.

He added: “It is too easily accessible, too cheap and we are building a lot of ugly looking furniture with it in the city.

“For me alone, I would recommend that all the pallet wood that is not utilised at the wharf be sent to the incinerator and burnt, so that persons can’t get access to it.”

He said his ministry will be introducing “a standard shed”.

“The idea being that we ask the private sector and business and property owners in Kingstown to get involved and we will consider some form of advertisement for them, if you funding certain areas, if you are prepared to put some funds into it, we will give you plaque space for free advertisement as recompense for your input.

“I know some will say that it is far-fetched and that the people would not get involved, but I believe that the majority of business owners and property owners in Kingstown feel the way I feel today and will get involved in this aspect of it,” Francis told Parliament.

Little Tokyo ‘needs to be knocked down and rebuilt’ — Eustace

20 replies on “Comment by tourist spurs minister to clean up ‘filthy’ Kingstown”

  1. Prime Minister Gonsalves should ask tourist why they visit SVG instead of a knee jerk reaction to one comment and then picking on traders who are trying to earn a living . As a recent visitor to your beautiful island I would like to see investment in promoting tourist attractions . Upgrading the route and signs on how to get to La Soufrière , Natural springs , the waterfalls , Pirates of the Caribbean movie sets and many more . If you want to tourist to visit get your marketing team to get their fingers out and promote the beautiful islands of SVG .

    1. 1. Comparatively few tourists visit SVG so asking why those who do visit would yield little useful information. Better to ask those who chose other destinations why they didn’t choose SVG.

      2. The traders are picking on ordinary Vincentians by depriving us of the public sidewalks and other areas which were built for us to trod upon.

      3. There has been much “investment in tourist attractions” simply because there are so few tourist attractions on the mainland in which to invest in.

      4. I doubt very much that you are actually a tourist because you say, “your marketing team” rather than “our marketing team.”

      1. C. ben-David All valid points which you make but SVG need to get the basics right so that the tourist who do visit spread the message that SVG it is a great place to visit . Oh by the way I do consider my self a tourist as I live in Europe .

      2. you got that badly wrong David, to start the word is tread not trod.

        Secondly he says “your marketing team” which means our marketing team not his marketing team. So David you got that arse about face.

      3. Also David if you pay 2.95 pounds and check Mr Mitchell out you will find he is a real person living in the UK.

  2. The ONLY REASON KINGSTOWN IS IN SUCH A MESS; the Government have neglected it for the past 14 years out of sheer spite. ITS WITHIN A NDP CONSTITUENCY.

    Little Tokyo has become a blight, an eyesore and should be razed to the ground. I am aware folks trying to make a living but there must be some sense of order and decency. What is happening in Kingstown with all these vendors occupying every square foot of walking space, is nothing short of lawlessness.

    We have to do better. We can do better.

    1. Good points but it has nothing to do with political party, (and just because it is in an NDP constituency does not mean Ralph is going to grant it lots of money….quite the opposite!). SVG has never had a leader that cares for the people and the country. If many tourists entering through the cruise ship terminal walk through Kingstown we should ask why does the government not have enough pride to make the visit a pleasant one.

  3. Jeannine James says:

    Vincentians now need to encourage this alert, quick-thinking, empowered minister to find that tourist, get her or him bronzed and mount the likeness in the Cenotaph right beside the iron man.

    1. Perhaps it was the little old lady who told Ralph to take the departure tax off the Bequia departures.

      Remember Julian is part of the Gonsalves/Francis family dynasty and one thing they are real consistent at is telling lies.

  4. Same old, same old. Nothing will happen, at least not under this government which inherited a growing urban mess from the last one and only made it worse by allowing:

    1. dozens of ugly wooden rum shops all over public property and sidewalks
    2. unlicensed vendors taking over all public walking space and selling all manner of goods VAT free
    3. unrestricted parking in high traffic areas
    4. garbage and chemical waste dumped indiscriminately all over the place
    5. neglect of public toilet facilities
    6. poor traffic flow (e.g., too few one-way streets)
    7. inadequate parking facilities (e.g., we badly need a parkade)
    8. badly broken sidewalks

    Where is the master plan for urban renewal in Kingstown? Perhaps its gathering dust under the missing Argyle International Airport and James Mitchell Airport feasibility studies.

    Kingstown is past the point of no return. Francis made a half-hearted effort to drive the vendors off our already congested streets — and to the Central Market which was built for them and where they belong — several years ago but failed, largely because the government didn’t have the political will to press ahead fearing a loss of votes. Other Caribbean countries such as St. Lucia which faced the same problem reacted with courage and resolve years ago and only a handful street vendors can now be found in some towns outside Castries. This and other efforts have resulted in a clean and pleasant city for tourists and locals alike.

    This Francis crank would pave over our beautiful road and sidewalk stones which only need to be re-set and refurbished. They add to the authenticity of Kingstown and are greatly admired by tourists who only complain that they have become very uneven because of a lack of maintenance. All over the world concrete-and-asphalt walking areas are being replaced with more attractive and longer lasting paving stones. But this quack — whose only qualification in the world for his position is being the Prime Minister’s cousin — wants to pave them over.

    Francis is supposed to be in charge of Kingstown but rarely visits Little Tokyo or other blighted areas. What does this say about his competence and zeal?

    1. Watching Hard says:

      This country is not run by a government. We have no government. This country is run by a political machine, fashioning itself after Jamaica’s PNP party. That explains everything about the state of Kingstown today.
      It’s not just Kingstown. They have allowed every town on our mainland to degenerate into pitiful run down communities. As I said, they have no shame.

  5. Now, Vincentians must feel very stupid to hear Francis admit his party’s failure to improve and maintain the country over the past 15 years. Much of this problem with Kingstown was aired during the campaign for the 2010 and 2015 elections. Yet it is said that Vincentians approved the performance of the ULP by reelecting them. Were Vincentian voters in a daze when it comes to voting in their best interests?

    Where was Francis and the PM all these years? Were they wearing blinders and nose-caulkers that prevented them from assessing and curing the situation? Why must it take a tourist to inform senator Francis that Kingstown is a filty, nasty place? Peter Binose, C Ben-David and Lenford OGarro have written volumes about not only Kingstown, but also the poor and filthy conditions of our tourism sites.

    Mr. Francis, why don’t you just resign and go away? Your incompetence in office is apalling! SVG couldn’t do any worse.

    Vinci Vin

  6. Watching Hard says:

    Such a shame that we are reactive rather than proactive. Such a shame that we value the feelings of foreigners over our own people.

    1. If we decide to base our economy so heavily on tourism I am afraid we must value the opinion of foreigners. Besides, do you like going to what may be called the filthiest city in the Caribbean? We talk about roads but look at the sidewalks. Look at the poor planning so that all transportation going from Windward to Leeward must go through Kingstown. What about our poor leadership that can’t figure out how to support the private sector so it can create jobs, therefore the streets of Kingstown are filled with beggars and venders.

      1. Watching Hard says:

        Where dd I say that foreigners opinions shouldn’t be valued? I’m simply saying did he have to wait to hear a foreigner complain? Hasn’t he heard Vincentians complain enough? Can he not see and smell the filth with his own eyes? Is a pleasant environment only important for foreigners?

        Look man, you are preaching to the choir. I fully understand the problems that we have. I understand that its going to take a monumental effort to overcome them. I understand that we have to start by first changing our mentality.

  7. I want town to be what it can be – but it needs a serious amount of work – Pallet Wood is the least of the problems.

    Why not get local artists to make things of interest with the Pallet wood – You have people who can carve wood there – I am not talking about tiny thin wooden strips either. Join the strips up to make quite significant large items of art. Paint them up nicely and position them around town. If you wet strip wood you can bend it and form it…. That wood can be used as a cheap method of giving town an uplift. Paint it to seal it I know its soft wood but it will last longer than you think.

    Burn it? That’s a total waste of a cheap resource.

    Seriously lacking in imagination and vision at the moment folks.

    You are not exactly overflowing with funds to sort the island out – think smarter guys.

    AIA is coming act fast…

  8. What few people realize is that some of the pallets are infected with boring insects which eat the pallets and are exported to countries like ours who allow pallets to leave the ports and business places and infect our island.

    But as bad or worse the lumber some of them are built with is chemically treated against insect infestation and contains dangerous chemicals including cyanide in the treatment process, that is why you should not inhale the smoke from burning pallet wood and it is dangerous to roast breadfruit with it. Yet I see on a daily basis people roasting breadfruit with pallet wood in Kingstown. It’s not their fault they are ignorant to the fact, because so is the government and ministry of health.

    Perhaps now we have such a hot dude minister of health something will be done to warn people about burning pallet wood, especially if it is noticed to have a very slight green tinge to it. First of all I suppose we will have to check Luke out and see if he is ignorant as well as arrogant?

    So as you can see ignorance is not always bliss.

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