Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
Councillor for the newly established Chancery Hall division in St Andrew, Duane Smith, has accused Mayor of Kingston Angela Brown Burke of misplaced priorities and turned his back on a councillors' retreat scheduled for this weekend.
Smith declared he was peeved by the complaints of his constituents and unleashed his fury on Brown Burke for sanctioning a high-priced retreat for the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) on the north coast while constituents in his division continue to be inconvenienced by neglect.
"All that is done by the council is sanctioned by the mayor. Why is she squandering much-needed resources while neglecting communities that are in dire need of attention?" the first-time councillor questioned.
"There is nothing that will be discussed at that retreat that cannot be dealt with at a hotel in Kingston instead of a luxury resort on the north coast," argued Smith. "How can it be that we don't have money to carry out its mandate but we can afford to be spending millions on a retreat?"
Smith told The Gleaner that he would have nothing to do with the retreat to be held on the weekend at the Riu Hotel in Ocho Rios, St Ann.
"We are called on to save money and we are moving to squander it in the next breath," he said.
Smith told The Gleaner he has written to Brown Burke on the state of his division in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaac, but a response has not been forthcoming.
Smith, son of North West St Andrew Member of Parliament Derrick Smith, contended that the funds that would have been used to pay for his accommodations at the Ocho Rios resort should be made available to help with the urgent issues in the council, including the removal of debris associated with the tropical storm, which continues to greatly inconvenience his constituents.