Suggestions for KSAC to improve its building-approval procedures
There have been several articles recently expressing angst about the inefficiency and potential for corruption within the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) building-approval process.
Personally, I have never met anyone who believes that the building-approval process and decisions of the KSAC are anything but inconsistent and uneven, at best, and at worst, a facilitator of graft. A source of this perception comes as a result of the number of new buildings that get retroactive approval or are allowed to proceed illegally.
I have the first-hand experience of witnessing a developer build three floors of an apartment building, without approvals, and then receive an approval by the time he started the roof. This case sailed through the KSAC, even though preventative covenants on the title of the property remain in place to this day, and even though the developer ignored numerous stop orders which the KSAC issued (only under pressure from the surrounding residents).
If the KSAC is serious about cleaning up the perception that the citizenry have of it and its building-approval practices, it could take the following steps:
1) Require KSAC approval signage at approved building sites (at the expense of the developer) and corroborate such notices by posting these site locations on the KSAC website. Such a practice would easily and cost-effectively provide the basis for residents in proximity to any building site to know if a site is operating illegally and, thereby, become the eyes of the KSAC in highlighting illegal buildings.
2) Stop approving developers who ignore stop orders, or at the very least, penalise them. Post such stop orders publicly on the site gate and on the KSAC website.
3) Deny new approval to developers who have a chronic history of violating building site requirements and stop orders. For this not to happen is like the police saying they don't know how a driver with 3,000 traffic tickets still has a driver's licence. List such developers on the KSAC website.
You will notice that most of my suggestions include providing the public with information under the prescription of 'transparency as the best disinfectant' for a process currently opaque to the average man.
Information is power and an empowered public can be harnessed for good, if the KSAC is serious about its responsibility to not just powerful interests but all citizens of Kingston.
Dalvey Post Office building badly needs repairs
I would like to highlight the urgent need for the repair of the Dalvey Post Office building.
On October 24, 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed the roof of the building, and all the people have been forced to travel to Golden Grove to received mail. This has caused great discomfort for poor pensioners who have had to be paying transport fees for the past six months.
I'm calling on the relevant authority within the postal service to treat the condition as a case of urgency and have the roof of the building replaced.
I am of the opinion that the persons in authority are not aware of the meagre amount these pensioners are getting.
I hope the Dalvey Post Office may not be as 'indefinite' as the Golden Grove PO building (more than 13 years) with no sign of its return to accommodate the works. Jamaica's postal service came into being more than 300 years ago (1671-2013) at Spanish Town.
I am calling on the present relevant authority to do something that will preserve and enhance the true virtue of a piece of our great heritage.
The building needs urgent attention to ease the financial problems which are affecting poor pensioners in the Dalvey community.
Rema residents suffering while taxpayer dollars go to waste
Recently, I made a visit to my old stamping ground in Wilton Gardens (better known as Rema) along with a friend who lives abroad but lived his early life in the same community.
Mr Editor, it brought tears to my eyes. I would really love for the media to come to Rema to see the abject poverty that the people are living in. All around the community is nothing short of despair and desolation!
Believe me, the faces of the people represent broken lives and no-hopers who are just waiting to die. I have an undying love for this community, but it shows again that politics and politicians have done the people of Rema and all the other ghetto areas a disservice.
We spend taxpayers' money wantonly on baseless probes such as the Dudus enquiry and the FINSAC enquiry, while the people face real suffering. Sir, there are good law-abiding citizens living in Rema and other ghetto areas who only need opportunities.
Where are our tax dollars really going? Who really cares about changing the cycle of poverty in Rema and the areas similar to Rema?
Mr Editor, I write while my heart pains me. We have been made a tool for our politicians. May God help us!
JUTC being robbed at the window?
The Jamaica Urban Transport Company (JUTC) is running at the mercy of the public purse and heavy demand for its services. Its bus capacity is just over 50 per cent of demand and dispatchers are at their wits' end in trying to move passengers in a timely manner.
For me, collecting revenue - all revenue - must be the ultimate.
So you can imagine my surprise when on Friday I purchased an adult bus ticket at the Half-Way Tree Transport Centre and I received a $20 ticket #170228.
It said I purchased a concession ticket!
Can you imagine, if all adult tickets sold in a day are sold as $20 tickets, what happens to the intake for that day?
This is a ticket purchased with cash. If $20 goes to the JUTC, where does the other $60 go?
I shudder to think, but could understand why the company is always broke! Some months ago, another Gleaner letter writer reported a bus driver doing the same.
Is this an endemic practice?
CUSTOMER ASKING QUESTIONS
Can authorities help to ease discomfort of public passengers?
I am not trying to shoot a hole in the pockets of bus and taxi operators. However, just imagine for a while having to sit between two seats on a vehicle travelling for one and a half hours.
Or imagine having to be leaning to one side, adding to your discomfort in order to have use of your legs upon exiting the vehicle because the person sitting in front of you, at no fault of his own, has to sit in such a way that all his body weight is resting on you.
This is the reality of persons travelling on routes such as Spanish Town to Mandeville or Ocho Rios to Spanish Town, where a seat meant for one passenger has to be shared, whether you want to or not. In addition, the full fare is expected, even from children under 12 years of age.
To add to this situation, the conductors are so impatient, rude and disrespectful that one better not try to question or put up any resistance to this arrangement which has, over time, become the status quo of public travelling.
It is not as if one cannot understand the harsh reality of our economic situation or the dilemma that these operators have to deal with, bearing in mind the fact that petrol prices have really skyrocketed in recent times.
Nevertheless, passengers should not be forced to travel uncomfortably so as to ensure that the most is made out of each trip. Not only is this arrangement unfair to passengers, it also poses a real danger should an accident or any other unforeseen incident arise on the journey.
Hence my call for the relevant authority to start doing more regular checks in this regard. This practice, while it may have been going on for a long time, should not be allowed to continue.
Tell us about the positives and negatives affecting your community, school or any other social space. Email submissions to email@example.com.