KINGSTON, Jamaica January 11, 2022 - Following the resignation of members of the PNP Caucus from the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) the Mayor of Kingston and Chairman of the Council Senator Delroy Williams announced today that the days of inaction and grandstanding regarding the issues related to the Planning Permission and Building Approval processes are over.
In his statement to Councillors at today’s sitting of the Council, Williams highlighted that he has written to the Prime Minister, The Ministry of Local Government and the Ministry of Finance suggesting an interrogation of the Building Approval process from the initial stages to the point of Issuance of strata titles and a overhaul of the planning department to put it in a position to better able to respond to the demands of the residents.
Accepting that the issues are longstanding, Williams noted that in the past nothing has been done regarding meaningful change and to improve transparency and accountability.
“This is not the first that the Building Committee will be put under scrutiny but it will be the last time this happens without action, tangible action being taken,” Williams stated.
“The chief engineer now has to submit on the last working day of each month, a detailed list of all Building works across the municipality and their status. There will now be mandatory inspections every three months for every development and designated stages of completion inspections,” Williams explained as he outlined his desire to implement a robust inspection regime which he believes these steps will help to accomplish.
He further stated that other changes have already been implemented by the Chief Engineering Officerincluding the rotation of building officers across the municipality. An internal audit was also ordered by the mayor and the finding will be presented to the Council.
Additionally, the mayor outlined that some changes to the operations of the KSAMC had commenced prior to many challenges currently in the media including the posting of all approved and refused applications on the website and an ICT system for recording and monitoring complaints.
Williams says he will effect tangible change to improve the transparency and accountability of the building approval process, and if nothing else is done, this will be his legacy.
The Mayor went further to explain that under the last PNP Administration of the Council and the Mayorship of Dr Angela Brown Burke, the entire PNP membership of the Building Committee resigned in 2014 but the PNP administration took no further steps to strengthen the approval process. Mayor Williams said this will not happen under his tenure.
“We are taking concrete steps to make the process more efficient, transparent and accountable. This is a legacy that we intend to leave,” Williams revealed.
The mayor committed that he will afford all Councillors and committee members the opportunity for discourse, suggestions and recommendations at the next sitting of the building committee on the third Wednesday of January 2022.