The lights of the Georgetown seawall bandstand at Kingston have been turned off because of vandalism and theft.
A source in the Traffic and Highway Lights Department of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure explained that the vandalism has been constant in recent months. The source told Stabroek News that whenever the lights are turned on, vendors and other persons around the area would usually piggyback on the electrical supply, which results in a fluctuation of electricity that often destroys the lights.
“Whenever there’s activity there on Saturdays and Sundays, by the Monday it would come off again and so we have a problem with vandalism and theft and we are looking into it at the moment. If our Department keeps rectifying the problem and it keeps occurring then we won’t be getting anywhere,” the source explained.
With the lights off, patrons of the seawall and the surrounding environs who would frequent the bandstand have said they do not feel safe in the area.
In a letter that was published in Stabroek News last week, writer M Abraham had expressed his disappointment at being greeted by a completely dark Kingston bandstand. Abraham had explained that he had hosted family from the Rupununi, including three children, and took them sightseeing to popular locations around the city, including the Kingston bandstand.
“As we pulled up to the bandstand, we immediately noticed a change. The place was completely empty and in almost total darkness. We sat in stunned silence as we weighed the options available to us ‒ return home or risk the darkness so the kids can have a breezing out. The kids ultimately made the decision as they were hell bent on releasing their pent-up energy. So with extreme reservations, we disembarked and proceeded to the section with the chairs. There were quite a few other people at the location. We could not decipher whether they were friend or foe! But, like us, they all seemed drawn to the venue, which is famed for its feeling of freedom and carefree abandon,” Abraham said in his letter.
Eventually, he noted, caution got the better of him and he decided to cut the evening short and leave the area.
Other patrons have also noted that they have been left very disappointed since it was not only the Kingston bandstand area that was left without lights, but the entire stretch of area from Kingston to the Kitty seawall.
In the past, when the lights were working, persons could be found along the wall, socialising and enjoying the sea breeze. However, when this newspaper visited the area, it was completely dark. About half a dozen persons were scattered around the Kingston area, sitting on the benches in the dark. The only source of light was provided by one of the caravans selling food.
“We usually come here to cool off, you know. It calm and used to be nice with the lights and sea breeze but now you’re unsure of what to expect with all the lights off. It’s become very dangerous because anyone could be hiding in the dark,” one person related.
“This takes away from tourism. How can you want to promote tourism and you have one of the main attractions in the city completely dark. No lights. No protection. No one is going to want to come out here with this place like this.
You already have to face the sight of garbage everywhere, now you can’t even see the garbage,” another patron pointed out.
The source from the Department was unable to say when the issue would be rectified but emphasised that it is being looked at.