Stiffer penalties for peeing in public - councillor
If the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) has its way, persons caught urinating in public spaces will see an increase in fines and penalties for the offence.
The KSAMC yesterday passed a resolution calling for the Government to expedite the tabling and passage of public cleansing regulations that will, among other things, increase fines and penalties for public urination.
Donovan Samuels, councillor for the Tivoli Gardens division, who moved the resolution at the corporation's monthly meeting, indicated that the pernicious practice had become been pervasive.
He pointed out that it was an offence under sections 46 and 53 of the National Solid Waste Management Act for a person to urinate in public spaces. He argued that the current $2,000 fine is an insufficient deterrent.
Eugene Kelly, councillor for the Whitfield Town division, while supporting the resolution, expressed concerns.
"I think that we must ensure that unnecessary burden is not being foisted up on the poor. There's a community called the homeless, some because of mental illness or as a result of economic disasters," he argued. "They will be seriously impacted by this and it should not be because we are not understanding of that community."
Kelly also pointed out that there were not enough public sanitary facilities and that this might contribute to issue of public urination.
"Let us be honest with ourselves; the number of public urinals today are the same as it was in 1960. Something is wrong with that. We are not serious about this. When we drive along Spanish Town Road [for example], I don't see any evidence of a public urinal."
In his response, Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams admitted that it was an urgent issue but proper consultations were needed.
"The point made about commercial buildings is crucial. There are certain basic facilities that you ought to have if you are inviting members of the public to your place of business. It is something we will have to pursue," he said.
"We all agree that there must be public facilities at strategic locations, but there is something that has been troubling me. I have observed that we have a serious problem at the Ward Theatre area, but we have approximately five facilities right at the St William Grant Park," he continued.
"This says to me that some of the problems we face is because of insufficient facilities, but we have to accept that some persons are just undisciplined and they don't care."