Sun | May 24, 2020

Licensing process to be reviewed in HMC

Published:Thursday | January 23, 2020 | 12:10 AM
Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels
Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels

Western Bureau:

The Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) has taken a decision to review the process by which applications are made to secure licences for amusement events, operating as butchers, hairdressers and vendors.

According to Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels, who is also chairman of the HMC, he is concerned about the way the licensing procedure is being carried out and, in his opinion, this is an area of great revenue loss for the corporation.

“We definitely have to organise ourselves within the corporation itself, as to how we approve these licences. It cannot be that everybody who comes and wants an amusement licence, we just allow them to pay a figure and they get the licence and move on to the police. We have to carefully vet these amusement licences, and also carefully look at the capacity or the type of functions that will be held, and carefully look at the rates that we are charging,” said Samuels.

The mayor said that, in most application cases, only $2,500 is charged for an amusement licence, irrespective of the venue and its capacity, the type of function or the expected crowd support for the event.

“I understand that there is a rate sheet which states how much to charge … you cannot have Sumfest happening in Negril and we are charging $2,500 for amusement licence fees when, according to the rate sheet, it should be way more than that,” noted Samuels.

He suggested that proper application forms be established and the approved rate sheet be applied in all instances to properly garner the necessary and needed revenue from these services.

While there were 54 applications for amusement licences within the HMC for December 2019, Samuels said he was surprised that there were no applications for vending licences for that period, when there was an influx of itinerant vendors, especially leading up to the Christmas season.

“What is troublesome is that, over the Christmas period there were zero applications for vending licences, so everyone was vending illegally over the Christmas period and, even though there was this free-for-all, we (at the HMC) are the ones that are really losing revenue,” declared Samuels.

The mayor insisted that the HMC should ensure that the necessary personnel are in place to see to the efficient collection of revenue in the mentioned areas.

– Bryan Williams