Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter
Brown Burke decries criticisms about 'silent KSAC'
Mayor of Kingston Angela Brown Burke has scoffed at criticisms that her council has been dormant since she assumed its chairmanship in April.
After loud complaints about a seemingly silent Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC), Brown Burke told The Gleaner that much work is being done towards achieving her vision of a clean, orderly city with economic opportunities for its residents.
"I'm one of those persons who likes to talk about things when they are almost done because there has been so much talk and so many announcements that people have become cynical," said Brown Burke.
"So part of what I want to do is the behind-the-scenes work and talk with our partners ... to have the kind of discussions that get us somewhere," she added.
The mayor said her dream for Kingston includes tourism as a key component and the KSAC is revisiting a sustainable development plan which was done some time ago.
"I really want to see a clean city. I also want to leave a legacy at the KSAC in terms of our building approval and our planning processes that we are seen as efficient and the image of corruption remains in the distant past."
According to Brown Burke, she wants to institute a regular town-hall discussion with the residents of Kingston.
"You see the town-hall discussion, it is part of our participatory framework for governance. I would like to leave that as part of something that is almost routine and that it becomes standard so that residents know that they are going to interface with the council."
The veteran People's National Party councillor said the KSAC was also planning to do a newsletter in hard copy and online so that residents of the country's capital could know the work being done by the council.
"So that the residents can know what we are doing and know that when they speak to us, we will respond."
Need for autonomy
Brown Burke, the councillor for the Norman Gardens division in East Kingston, has reiterated her call for Minister of Local Government and Community Development Noel Arscott to urge the Cabinet to place at the top of the legislative agenda the laws that would make the KSAC and other councils autonomous.
"We cannot wait too much longer for laws that will deepen and strengthen representative democracy, while allowing citizens to play an active role in managing issues that affect their daily lives.
"We cannot wait much longer for laws that give us a platform for good governance, sustained development and good order within our jurisdiction," Brown Burke said as she was sworn in as mayor.