THE EDITOR, Sir:
This is an open letter to Local Government Minister Noel Arscott.
I am asking of the minister if he can explain why there is, at best, utter confusion within the parish councils across the island and, at worst, their seemingly operating under separate laws.
I have had the unenviable task of doing business with the following parish councils: St Ann, Manchester, St James, St Thomas, Portmore, and Kingston and St Andrew. At the end of my dealings with these entities, I am in a total quandary as to how they operate.
First, each parish council requires a different fee for amusement licences. In the cases of Manchester, St Ann, St Thomas and Portmore, it is $3,500; in St James, it is $3,700, which is not bad.
However, in the case of Kingston and St Andrew, it is a whopping $15,000, or more than four times as much.
If the above is startling, consider the following: In the case of a permit for a roadshow, each parish council, save Kingston, charged the same as that for the amusement licence. In the case of Kingston and St Andrew, this is $30,000, around ninefold the amount for the amusement licences.
Surely, each parish council has its own operational expense. However, the collections of revenue, which ought to have been set by the Government, should at least closely mirror each other.
Regrettably, the confusion does not end there. In some areas, you first have to obtain the approval/ permit from the police, while in others, nary a question is asked.
Minister Arscott, shoddy dealing with the public at government entities has become commonplace. However, I think it's time that we move away from this. I am calling on you to bring some semblance of order at the parish councils across the island.