Tue | Feb 18, 2020

Corruption crisis in St Mary - Mayor slams municipal officials for building breaches

Published:Tuesday | March 19, 2019 | 12:12 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Richard Creary
Richard Creary

Port Maria Mayor Richard Creary is warning officers of the St Mary Municipal Corporation against improper conduct in the handling of building plans and permits and is threatening to report suspected cases to the Public Service Commission.

At Thursday’s monthly meeting of the corporation in Port Maria, Creary alleged that there was collusion between officers and members of the public in the submission of building plans.

The mayor said persons are paying money to officers of the corporation to draw building plans and submit for approval. He said these plans are then not submitted for approval, as the officers believe they can protect builders from any action the corporation may take against them.

“What save them is [that] people don’t want to testify,” Creary told the meeting.

“I will investigate with the help of the police. It cannot continue. You’re compromising yourself and robbing the Government of revenue.”

At the same time, the mayor is expressing joy at the new Building Act, which he says will give the Corporation easier authority to demolish unfit buildings. He explained that the new act has removed the red tape and drastically reduced the process that leads to the final decision to demolish.

“I’m very happy we’ll be getting certain authority; the process before was very tedious,” he said.

Creary is also taking issue with restrictions on the corporation’s power over properties it owns. According to him, the corporation wants to lease some properties to earn income but cannot do so because of stipulations by the National Land Agency (NLA).

“We have to lease our own land from the NLA and can’t sublease,” he told the meeting.

The mayor said he has been making efforts to rectify this.