KINGSTON, Jamaica – If you feel the need do it, don’t hold it. That is what physicians say about the urge to urinate. Holding your urine may strain your bladder and could later contribute to your being unable to control the bodily function.
But it may not be that simple if you are in Jamaicas cities or major towns. Legislation, which is often not enforced, and the existence of only a few clean public lavatories are contributing to the steady degradation of city space.
In downtown Kingston, for instance, the entire St. William Grant Park has been transformed into a big public lavatory.
Similarly, areas in HalfWay Tree, St. Andrews capital, are stained by urine even though there is a wellkept lavatory at Mandela Park.
Desmond McKenzie, mayor of Kingston, who three years ago called for the fine for urinating in a public place to be increased from the current $1,000 to $20,000 as a deterrent to such acts, says the police need to start taking action against those who urinate against Kingston’s walls.
“The laws are on the books … but when was the last time you hear about a man or woman taken to the court for urinating in public?” the mayor asked. He was responding to The Sunday Gleaner’s question about the urine stench and stains at the St. William Grant Park.
However, the police are reluctant to take the blame for the continued degradation of the city’s space because of the almost impulsive discharge of urine by persons.
Neville George, deputy commandant at the Island Special Constabulary Force, has said many persons have been charged for the offence of exposing their person, a charge which may be levelled against persons who urinate in public.
“We view this as a very serious offence, and if the police see you, they will charge you,” Dept Commandant George said.
“But it is the duty of the KSAC to clean up the Park (St. William Grant) and the city.
“Persons often don’t use the sanitary conveniences because they are not clean. I am not making any excuses, but having these places clean is a part of crime prevention,” George says.
With the ICC Cricket World Cup just weeks away, there are fears that the stench from St. William Grant Park could attack the nostrils of visitors.
Mayor McKenzie said a massive sanitisation of the park is set to take place in coming days, but notes that the much-talked-about clean-up of Parade won’t be completed before the Cricket World Cup gets here.
Mayor McKenzie said the KSAC has so far “refurbished some eight public sanitary convenience across the municipality. We are presently doing two, one at KPH and one at Spanish Town Road.”
“We can’t build new ones right now, but the ones that we have, we are in partnership with the NWC (National Water Commission). We refurbish these public sanitary conveniences and the Water Commission provides water at a reduced cost,” he said.