For now, this newspaper continues to give Angela Brown Burke, the chairman of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and mayor of Kingston, the benefit of the doubt.
We still hope that the mayor has the leadership skills to disentangle the Corporate Area from its atrophying blight and transform the island's capital into a thriving metropolis to which Jamaicans, and others, feel a compelling tug.
But nearly five months after the People's National Party (PNP), of which Mrs Brown Burke is a vice-president and represents in the KSAC, swept the municipal elections, we are fast losing confidence that anything will change.
For on the current trajectory, the more likely legacy of Mrs Brown Burke's mayorship will be the sterility, absent Desmond McKenzie's huffing and puffing, of Mr McKenzie's time. Or, worse, Mrs Brown Burke's legacy to the KSAC could be the narcoleptic senility of the leadership of Mr McKenzie's PNP predecessor, the late Marie Atkins.
Any of these outcomes would, of course, be a great shame. For, based on the PNP's manifesto for the municipal elections, this newspaper, as we believe many other Jamaicans would have been, was inveigled into expecting better from the local government councils.
Councillors, it was made to seem, would be more than conduits for the delivery of patronage, and other small-bore programmes, on behalf of members of parliament. They could be presumed to tackle the larger concepts of development and grapple with big ideas.
Indeed, in the case of the KSAC, Angela Brown Burke has, with eloquence, articulated this new approach to the management of local government, as was the case last week when she presented the Key to the City to Dr Julius Garvey, the son of National Hero Marcus Garvey.
The KSAC, Mayor Brown Burke indicated, would be at the forefront of delivering on Garvey's message of "reliance, self-discovery, of discipline, taking responsibility for our own lives, of preserving our history and culture".
YET TO SEE ACTION
It is possible that Mrs Brown Burke is being hobbled by internal constraints, for we are yet to see concrete action on these ideals: no plan emanating from the Corporation for the advancement of the KSAC or effective engagement of the private sector on the necessary partnership to drive investment and development in Greater Kingston.
Nor is there as yet the transparency and citizens' engagement we hoped for from a Brown Burke administration. For instance, the KSAC website provides its constituents with neither work programme nor budget, or even projected cash inflows.
Indeed, a KSAC resident could not tell from a search of that site what proportion of the J$1.862 billion the local government ministry plans to share among the municipal authorities this fiscal year will go to the KSAC, and what is expected to be the inflows from property taxes, motor vehicle licensing fees or charges from other services.
In this regard, the KSAC is not the worst of the parish councils. The others, except for St James, have not graduated to websites, and fewer, it appears, think conceptually about development.
But we expect more of the council led by Mrs Brown Burke, for we believe in her resides much promise. That promise is in need of liberation.
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