Mayor gets tough

By Balford Henry
Observer senior reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

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MAYOR of Kingston, Delroy Williams said the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) is losing millions of dollars from party promoters failing to obtain permission or licences for their events.

“It is a long-standing issue and we are moving to correct it. In annual licences issued for public spaces used for entertainment, we have seen a decrease of half a million dollars in revenue over the last three years. There are more businesses, but we are collecting less revenue. Something is clearly wrong,” Williams told the Jamaica Observer.

He said the city loses close to $2 million on a monthly basis from events and companies that are continuously under-paying for advertising and permits.

“We cannot have some persons complying and others evading and getting away with it. This may mean we have to revisit regulations and possibly create a registry of promoters, as well as work closer with the Jamaica Constabulary Force,” he said.

“There is a lot of work to do across the city and this needs revenue. Currently, the municipal police force, markets, roadways, and drains all need revenue and our hands are being tied. There are increasing demands on the KSAMC with respect to safety and security, maintenance of order, and infrastructural improvement. The residents of Kingston and St Andrew are demanding more from the KSAMC in terms of service delivery. All of this means we have to be efficient in the collection and use of the revenues. For the municipality to attain its vision and Kingston to take its place among international cities, we must collect revenues and bring order,” he continued.

Five years ago, a similar appeal come from then mayor, Angela Brown Burke, at a monthly meeting at its Church Street chambers in downtown Kingston. She stressed that promoters of parties, dances, festivals, stage shows, plays, and sport must get permission from the KSAMC. She also pointed out that applications must be made five working days ahead of the proposed date of the event, and that the same rules apply for the display of signs, billboards and other material promoting and advertising events.

To ensure compliance and, in keeping with the KSAMC's approach to governance, it has sought the assistance of the police commissioner, venue operators, the Jamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers, the Jamaica Music Society, and the National Solid Waste Management Authority.

“Where no licence has been obtained, we will be closing these events,” Williams added.

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