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Prostitutes, drug peddlers and thieves not welcome downtown

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism Chester Cooper. Photo: Moise Amisial

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism Chester Cooper. Photo: Moise Amisial

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

PROSTITUTES, drug peddlers and thieves are not welcome downtown, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism Chester Cooper said yesterday.

He pledged that police would remove such people through a zero-tolerance approach.

“Right now, with the help of Commissioner Fernander, we’re receiving greater police presence that we hope will be consistently visible,” he said during his debate contribution in the House of Assembly.

 “We’re working on a clean, safe environment Downtown, and I want to be very clear about this: drug peddlers, hackers, hagglers, prostitutes, harassers, thieves, and troublemakers are not welcome Downtown. They are, in fact, not welcome anywhere, but there will certainly be zero tolerance Downtown, and the mission of the police is to remove them. Please understand. Do not seek to complain to me or anyone in this administration about it, you have been warned, and it has to be done.”

 He added: “With 30,000 visitors per day, there are enough ways to make an honest living in a manner that adds value and we will support you in doing so. We’re also working with the Ministry of Health, the police and the Department of Social Services to manage vagrancy. We are sensitive to the plight of the mentally ill and those who suffer from addiction and with the recently passed Mental Health Act, we will manage this issue compassionately.”

 “We will ensure that vagrants receive the care they need, and they will not receive that care wandering about and sleeping on the streets or in derelict buildings. We can do better as a country to support our vulnerable and we will.”

 Mr Cooper’s pledge is the latest from a government official to improve Downtown. Observers will likely watch to see what happens differently this time.

 Mr Cooper said $1m had been allocated in the budget to beautify Downtown.

 He said Senator Randy Rolle had been tasked with monitoring upgrades in the area.

 “We will, under no circumstances, allow Bay Street to remain in the state that it has languished in for decades,” he said. “The poor state of our capital’s city centre is even more glaring now that the port is there.

 “We are working with the Downtown Nassau Partnership to create and execute an overall plan for Downtown and we have already begun stakeholder engagement. We have devised a plan with quick wins and wins with a short, medium and long-term horizon.”

 Mr Cooper said the tourism enhancement levy, which will take effect on January 1, 2024, will help Downtown, adding: “That $2 the opposition is complaining about will go a long way.”

 He said the demolition of buildings will continue soon.

 “Nine buildings have been identified for demolition Downtown, and notices have been given,” he said. “More demolition will begin in August this year.”

 He said dilapidated buildings that aren’t demolished will be transformed into attractive storefronts and entertainment centres.

 “We will triple the number of garbage cans Downtown and have more timely power washing. We will also revamp planters and benches and place new signage Downtown. We will be encouraging storefront competitions and native shows in Pompey Square and Rawson Square and Goombay Summer is coming back to Bay Street, this summer.”

Mr Cooper said the government plans to develop a system for short-term parking and create a pedestrianised market street beside the Nassau Straw Market.

 Additionally, Mr Cooper said the government would propose closing down Prince George Wharf to regular vehicular traffic during certain hours of the day “as a first step on fully pedestrianising the wharf.”

 “We plan to beautify the Churchill Building space, which will mean even more potential green space and potential vendor opportunities in the short term until we establish a permanent plan for this historic site,” he said. “We will encourage investment in clubs, restaurants, entertainment and residences. Everyone is complaining about the state of Downtown. Now it is time for everyone to do what we can to help.”

 Mr Cooper also announced plans to launch incubation centres Downtown, “converting what would be considered cost-prohibitive spaces in the Downtown area into affordable shared spaces”.

 The centres will be located east of East Street, while the main facility will be positioned on Bay Street.

 He said it would serve as “the instrument which underpins the long-awaited revitalisation and rejuvenation of Downtown Nassau, with a keen focus on the eastern portion of the district”.

Comments

mandela 1 year ago

Sounds great, and once implemented and sustained it will be great.

AnObserver 1 year ago

In the decades I've spent walking downtown, there have always been prostitutes, drug peddlers, and thieves. Are you just now noticing?

B_I_D___ 1 year ago

Can't walk more than 10 feet down the sidewalk on Bay Street without being proposition in one fashion or another. Hence why I avoid it like the plague.

moncurcool 1 year ago

The question he needs to address is, if those in the building where he made this speech going to be included.

themessenger 1 year ago

Brudda Coops, you ga be running ya boss favorite Jamaican unda gals from round Long wharf too?

Dawes 1 year ago

Theres plenty right next to the police station after the Pointe, or is that not down town?

TalRussell 1 year ago

I'm straightforward telling you Mr.Tourism and Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper. ---- Your PLP has reached its lowest point. ---- It's House-elected majority ---- No longer represents the party of Lynden O Pindling and Milo B. Butler ---- Having managed to top the harsh insensitivity of a Sir Stafford Sands and "Pop" Symonette Bay Street Boys' ---- UBP party. – 'Aye.' 'Nay?

bahamianson 1 year ago

Wait, what? Did you say prostitutes? You mean those girls by the police station? Just saying....

TalRussell 1 year ago

'Little Nassau' is no more! ---- Wonder as to the number of visitors, goin' have heart return with friends to visit the charm of a ---- Monopolistic, beachless cruise port?

  • Little Nassau André Toussaint -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDkjFc6…

Sickened 1 year ago

How can politicians get to the HoA when they will no longer welcomed downtown?

SP 1 year ago

Great ideas tourism minister DPM Cooper! But why enforce belated common sense rules with just Bay Street?

Are prostitutes, drug peddlers, vagrants, the mentally ill, and thieves, welcomed on the Cable Beach strip? How about the resort areas of Port Lucaya, Abaco, Eleuthera, and Exuma? Are these areas not just as important as Bay Street?

Also, why not deal with loud music which is another major nuisance that destroys the ambiance of Bay Street and the country at large for everybody? Noise pollution from passing vehicles in and around the capital is another important common sense issue that needs to be addressed with equal urgently!

A new Florida state law makes it illegal to play music or any audio loud enough to be heard from 25 feet or more away. The law also says audio should not be louder than necessary in areas near private residences, churches, schools, or hospitals.

It would be a great injustice and a wasted opportunity if DPM Cooper fails to deal with this vexing issue!

Why should we continue to allow a few ignorant, selfish, people to destroy the tranquility that tourists come to the "Islands" in search of?

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