Mayor says 'crafty' entertainers not paying amusement fees
Mayor of Kingston, Senator Delroy Williams, says the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) will be moving to collect millions in amusement fees being lost on a monthly basis.
Williams, who declared earlier this year that the entertainment and promotions industry needs order and structure, stated in a release yesterday that several promoters were hosting events without the proper permits, while others were being crafty in avoiding to pay the requisite fees.
"It is a long-standing issue and we are moving to correct it. In annual licences issued to public spaces used for entertainment, we have seen a decrease of half a million dollars in revenue over the last three years," the Kingston mayor outlined.
"There are more businesses but we are collecting less revenue. Something is clearly wrong," he asserted.
The mayor added that the city also loses close to $2 million monthly from event organisers and companies that are continuously underpaying for advertising and permits daily.
LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
He went on to declare that he has a love for entertainment and the creative industry and would be taking steps to ensure that the playing field was level for all stakeholders.
"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 explained.
Williams also made it clear that the KSAMC would be engaging offenders through dialogue initially, but would take the necessary steps provided by the law, if necessary, and impose sanctions.
"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," Williams noted.
"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."
With this increasing demand, the mayor said the KSAMC will have to become efficient in the collection and use of revenues.