Ladder Hill

The Jamestown infrastructure is an absolute mess

Now listen, now…from the heart of my bottom, I’m not trying to rock boats or upset no one with this…BUT, we are wanting to encourage tourism, are we not? Wasn’t the big plan from starting the airport, right down to creating the Mantis Hotel all about encouraging tourism. My personal opinion, as an ‘outsider’, for what it’s worth is this:

The condition of the basic infrastructure is an absolute mess. A lot of us know the Bo Kaap area in cape Town.


The stunningly beautiful little streets with brightly coloured buildings is a known ‘must’ if you are visiting Cape Town for a holiday. Its culture and color simply shout out class and culture. When it comes to buildings, it’s simply ‘sexy’! Crisp & Clean, established in 1760, yes, almost as old as our very own Jamestown, such pride is born from such poverty. With a bit of help from you know who, anything’s possible here too. I’ve learnt to appreciate some things on Saint Helena. Saint people are the proudest of folk when it comes to clean & tidy. My Missus never lets me hear the end of it, if it ain’t perfect, “swing it in the bin,” she says. Saint gals even want you to take your shoes off before walking in the family space, everything shines, spik and span, as they say. How do folk feel when they go down town and are confronted by peeling paint and crumbling walls? I know that money is short on the island, we all know that SHG is struggling with getting adequate funds for the even the basics. What are the basics? Well, I would have thought that the roads, the buildings, water supply, electricity and sewage removal would be what I call…the basics. If you were to start at the top of Ladder Hill and drive down to town, you would start with the gates and entrance to where the Fire Services are based. Only one half of the gate is there and the paint job is shameful.

It’s right at the top of Jacob’s Ladder, which every able-bodied tourist will be climbing. Wouldn’t it be a lovely cherry on the top after capturing the stunning views on the way up, to be met by a stunning entrance to the courtyard on the left as you walk to your car? When you reach the bottom of Ladder Hill and swing round to go down town, some of the buildings where the gas canisters are stored actually look like a good puff of wind might just knock it down. With all them flammables, one would of thought that there might be a health & safety label attached. Mr CW, I am not picking fights, but really!

Broken concrete left for years to rot

Further down town, several buildings are a bit tired and peelyfied!! As you approach the clock at the market…good lord, I don’t know where to find the words. Let’s Get The Saint Issue 11 13 4 of August 2022 Only last week, a gentleman came in here and gave us a letter about the ‘ol clock, it’s part of who we are, yes…we miss the familiar chime and it’s a mess. Not working, paint peeling off, how long does it take to fix a damn clock. Is it a whole year? 

Post office in desperate need of maintenance – peeling paint

There has to be a brilliant engineer somewhere who can fix it, ‘machine’ a part, make a ‘Saint Fix’ for now! Just cruise down slowly, take a walk, like a tourist…what is this around the next corner? Is it a Zebra Crossing, where are the lines in the road, why is there a Zebra Crossing and loads of zig zag lines? Was it a mistake in the first place, putting something there which, let’s face it’ is not needed… it requires maintenance!! As I look up from the Zebra Crossing, I am confronted & confused by a peach-coloured construction. “It’s The Post Office”, they say! What…the pillars are cracked, are they safe? The paint from the last 10 coats has peeled right back to it’s original colour in places! I see on the one pillar, there is a plastic gadget which is screwed to the wall. This is to measure the growth of existing cracks. It’s stretched to capacity! I don’t know when it was put there, but we all know how rebars oxidise, go rusty and break up the cement, don’t we? Is it safe for the employees to be sitting on the balcony it supports in their lunch breaks?

As I continue down town towards the seafront, I have seen privately owned buildings along the way and knowing the Saint Helenian economic state of affairs, I would never blame the owners for the poorly kept paint jobs. No, to be fair, assistance is required to maintain what should be the brightest, most beautifully kept town. It’s our only town after all. Saint folk might be feeling a bit of shame, I know I do. The quote to fix the ladder up is about £140,000.00. That’s £200.00 per step!! Surely the balance of Lord Ashcroft’s sizeable donation of £300,000.00 could help some folk out and even give SHG a bit of a boost for a bloody good lick of paint all round? The tourists should start coming as the summer approaches, there’s time, there’s a bit of cash… Come on SHG, us want to be proud…don’t we? We would love these visitors to come here, love the experience and to get back to their homes and tell the world, “Wow, it’s the most beautiful place we’ve ever been to” So, maybe we should stop all the fussing over new prisons to house our serial killers, and get back to the basics…focus on the foundations, let’s do something to make Saint Helena an unforgettable destination for all the RIGHT reasons!


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *