You may have heard me mention the down town waterfront in previous podcasts and posts where homeless MSM also use now comes the matter full front as the toss up between welfare and public order is before us in as far as MSM homelessness is concerned.
The article read in part:
There, the occupants of the motor vehicles seldom open the doors, not to mention exit after parking. The windows of the vehicles, if not all the way up, are only slightly down with hands pushing from inside the vehicles only to dispose of unwanted garbage.
Visits to this car park are usually on a short-term basis and if one looks closely couples can be seen in compromising positions.
The old Pirates' Cove building, in its run-down state, serves as a home and a makeshift toilet to vagrants.
On other occasions, the building serves as base for homosexual prostitutes and drug dealers.
Marijuana can also be purchased around the waterfront with sellers available well into the dead of night.
The police are aware of most of the activities which take place at the waterfront at nights and are working hard to clean-up the area.
"We know for a fact that there are gay prostitutes out there, but most of them are non-violent," said Superintendent Victor Hamilton, the officer in charge of the Kingston Central Police Division.
Hamilton added that female prostitutes also do business in the area and drug addicts visit to get their fix. However, Hamilton argued that the problem is not as rampant as in yesteryear.
"What is a recent problem now is the illegal gambling. People sit around the concrete benches and gamble, and that is something that we have been dealing with," said Hamilton, as he accepted that some of the actions on the waterfront could hamper the development processes.
"It is still a relaxing area. People still find it a place to be, and many families come down there, especially on Sundays to cool out," continued Hamilton.
According to the senior cop, at least one police unit is assigned to patrol the strip at nights.
In some cases, that unit is joined by other patrol teams en route to their locations.
"I always encourage them to turn on their (flashing) lights. This is a deliberate method to increase visibility. It also wards off persons with criminal intent," explained Hamilton.
That was confirmed by The Sunday Gleaner as during recent visits to the area our news team saw regular police patrols.
Sometimes, the police unit's blue flashing lights were turned on, while the driver parked the vehicle inside the parking lot where the families stay.
In the meantime, general manager for the UDC, Desmond Malcolm, said while he is aware of mentally ill and homeless persons wandering the area, he was not aware that it also attracts drug addicts and prostitutes.
"We would like a more comfortable setting down there, but we do have some social conditions today, persons with mental-health issues, and such," Malcolm told The Sunday Gleaner.
"So there is the issue of persons drifting. We are aware of that and the plans for downtown does not exclude them.
"But things are looking up. As are far as vagrants are concerned, it is a question of people occupying the place. My experience is that once that place keeps on being populated (with visitors) there is a tendency for the so-called vagrants to drift."
Malcolm said the UDC has already requested assistance from the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and other private companies to deal with these vagrants.
The KSAC has also been asked to provide nightly shelter for the homeless.
Malcolm explained that there has been increased interest in the area from corporate entities in the past two years, but noted that there is hardly any space there for additional construction.