The Katarokwi Tenants Union (KUT) is calling for the resignation of the executive director of the Kingston Downtown Business Improvement Area following a letter that was circulated earlier this month.
Ivan Stoiljkovic, general secretary of KUT, says the BIA letter on homelessness in the city center is consistent with the municipal government’s approach.
Now he is calling for the resignation of the BIA executive director in response.
“We call on the poor and homeless, as well as all people of good will to resist Ms. Cuerrier’s social cleansing agenda and make the genocidal project of the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area difficult.” Stoiljkovic said on behalf of KUT.
“We demand public space for everyone, not just for those who can pay. We demand the resignation of Marijo Cuerrier! “
The letter that has upset many was sent to downtown businesses on August 11 and was written by the new BIA executive director, Marijo Cuerrier.
The letter received attention after it was posted on an Instagram page that focuses on local issues and resulted in a backlash against Cuerrier and the BIA.
He addresses challenges with “people involved on the street” and goes on to suggest that businesses ask people on the property to leave and call the police on those causing a disturbance, as well as discourage any form of begging with customers.
The article claims that Kingston’s homeless have more than enough resources, so clients don’t need to help them.
“Kingston has an excellent food program and a social service program, so there is no need to provide people with extra money, food or drinks.” the letter says.
“Supporting them with change or food allows them to continue loitering and begging, rather than seeking appropriate support and, in some cases, allowing the use of illegal drugs.”
Cuerrier, the new BIA CEO, was contacted by email, where she redirected YGK News staff to a calendar link where those interested in speaking can reserve 15 minutes to an hour of their time.
He eventually accepted an interview before canceling it because he was working with the BIA board on a response to the reaction to the letter.
The BIA says its mission statement is “to promote Downtown Kingston as the modern, vibrant, authentic and healthy shopping, retail, residential, tourism and entertainment center of our region.”