Back up some seven years ago to 2013 and you would have seen the following:
“Desmond Gilmore said he is in the process of submitting a proposal to transform the now defunct Windsor Girls Home into a place for wayward children left by
You would have also seen:
“[Mayor] Gilmore hopes to accomplish this through funds expected to be raised at the Mayor’s Ball to be hosted next month”
So what happened?
Nothing. Or everything that is nothing if you want to look at it that way.
Did money get placed towards refurbishing the home and making it a dwelling place for all the forgotten invalid? I don’t think so!
One unofficial quote received from someone attached to the group setup to achieve the feat stated “it was all political, that’s why it didn’t happen”
What was political?
Windsor Girls Home first incarnation was as the Windsor Hotel throughout the 1920’s and 1950’s. It was so prominent that it catered for a host of individuals:
Windsor Hotel dinner 8:15p.m. the Prince of Wales around the world and appropriate vocal and courtesy Palace Windsor Hotel dinner Served 9:15 p m Special entertainment to be 10:30p.m. Windsor Hotel dance orchestra 7th p Windsor Hotel dinner Special 10:30 Windsor Hotel Harold Leonard’s Red Jackets p m Capitol Theatre house- Kingston Gleaner (Newspaper) March 30, 1926, Kingston, Kingston
After abandonment, the Children’s Services Division a part of the Ministry of Youth and Community Development took it over and transformed it into a home for girls – female wards of the State. The common term we used for it at the time was [Re]formatory school for girls behaving badly..
In 1977 the Children’s Services Division of the Ministry of Youth and Community Development converted the disused Windsor Hotel into a home for female wards of the state (Jamaica Gleaner, 1985, 1987). The institution serves the society in general rather than the community directly by catering for girls all over the country who have lost their way, been abused, or looking for an environment conducive to continuing education.
There’s a special attachment of Windsor Hotel/Windsor Girls home to this writer, because an aunt leaving from Hanover parish in search of jobs happened to have found one when it was the former and stayed on as chef/guidance counsellor through the latter until her death.
This writer is also proud to mention that a a step-mother was a part of this school for two years after she arrived from Spanish Town, St. Catherine as a delinquent “bad girl” in the 1970’s. She has no deceased – along with the magnificent she blessed upon my siblings and I. That is proof showing the program can work to the fullest potential as my step-mother became a woman, stayed on due to her love of the Garden Parish, and only returned to Spanish Town as a matured woman.
So it is with a heavy circumspect that saw me reading the words of a “rebuilding” of the home to cater for vagrants and additional lost and homeless folks, and accepting the fact. I watched the article for another traction, I studied the movements of the mayor – because let’s be honest, in politics the trickling down of budgetary funds for off beat projects can take some time.
Almost a decade later though, I walk down to inspect Windsor Girls home, and speak to some of the people I still know there, only to learn that nothing has been done, nothing will be done, and the place is getting more and more dilapidated.
It is with a broken heart this writer is reaching out to the Mayor’s office, asking
“Why are we treating the natives of our beloved parish like pieces of unwanted cloth, and why are we neglecting so a bright piece of historical treasure as the Windsor Hotel/Windsor Girls home?”
Can we do something about this soon?
We the people of Garden Parish await a response!