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KSAC councillor challenges mayor to justify parlour expenditure

Published:Friday | July 11, 2014 | 7:00 AM

The Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) is being accused of a cover-up of the sums being spent to renovate the mayor's parlour with marble-style tiling at its Church Street offices in downtown Kingston.

Duane Smith, Jamaica Labour Party councillor for the Chancery Hall division, has castigated the corporation, arguing that the renovations were unacceptable in this period of austerity.

He charged that the refusal of the town clerk to release the cost of the project and his refusal to allow the press to take pictures of the parlour and other refurbished areas was an obvious attempt to cover up the administration's excesses.

"While I could understand the improvements done to the customer service areas of the office, there is no explanation for the council spending excessively on marble-style tiling for the mayor's parlour and installing flat-screen television sets in a number of areas, including the councillors' caucus room, at this time," Smith added.

He also chided the KSAC for refusing the media access to the relevant areas and for not divulging the cost for repairs, noting that this was a "flagrant abuse of the rights of the media and the public to have access to information on how their taxes and fees are being spent by the mayor and the corporation".

"I challenge the mayor of Kingston, Councillor Angela Brown Burke, to justify the expenditure for refurbishing her parlour when the council does not have the resources to carry out its mandate to clean drains, repair roads, reduce public health threats, and pay the JPS (Jamaica Public Service) for street lights.

"The taxpayers, the handcart men and market vendors who try so hard to pay their fees to the council also need to know if this is what their fees are used for," he said.

Smith called on the mayor and the town clerk to immediately release to the public the details and costs of the renovations and to allow the media the access needed to investigate the matter.