COUNCILLOR for the Chancery Hall Division, Duane Smith, says that he intends to boycott the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) retreat to be held at an all-inclusive resort in Ocho Rios on the weekend, saying the funds could be better spent on dealing with some "outstanding issues".
Smith, who is the son of Member of Parliament Derrick Smith, maintains that the objectives of the retreat can be met in Kingston, saving the KSAC hundreds of thousands of dollars.
According to Smith, the KSAC should set a clear agenda of work going forward and make every effort to keep costs very low in this time of "economic crisis". He said the council should also work to better allocate scarce resources for the benefit of taxpayers.
He explained further that following the passage of Tropical Storm Isaac, he wrote five times to Mayor Angela Brown Burke seeking assistance in clearing
rubble from the streets to
allow residents in his
division improved access to their homes.
In a letter to the Mayor dated September 17, Smith wrote, "I have written to you four times seeking urgent assistance, including clearing rubble from streets to allow trapped residents access to and from their homes. These letters dated August 27 and 28, 2012 and September 4 and 5 were delivered to your office physically and electronically on said date. I have yet to receive a response, although I was able to confirm acknowledgement of receipt."
In the letter, Smith pointed out further that he received an e-mail from Brown Burke's assistance which, among other things, stated that if councillors wanted to remain for an additional night, it would be at a cost of US$129.
As such, Smith insists that the funds, that would have been used to pay for his accommodation at the resort, should be made available to help with clearing the rubble in his division as well as other urgent issues in the council.
The newly created Chancery Hall Division is drawn from the realignment of three constituencies — North West, West and West Rural St Andrew. Its communities include Patrick City, Meadowbrook Estate, Perkins Estate, sections of Duhaney Park, Kirkland Heights, Belvedere, Forest Hills, and Queen Hill. The division is located in the North West St Andrew constituency currently held by his father.