The 24 People’s National Party (PNP) Councillors of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), who were successful in the March 26 Local Government election, were sworn on April 10, at a ceremony held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston.
The other 14 Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Councillors did not attend the ceremony, and will be sworn in at the next sitting of the KSAC in May.
In her address at the ceremony, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Angella Brown Burke, encouraged the Councillors to work in unison for the benefit of the citizens who have elected them to office.
"Let us place our energies into making this a better city. Let us focus on improving the quality of life for those who have elected us to serve. Often we forget that this is really not about us, but that there are persons out there, truly depending on us to make the right decisions,” she said.
The Mayor said she expects mutual respect and civility; vigorous representation of the issues affecting persons in the divisions; and contributions to the wider discussion about policies that affect the citizens from the members who were elected.
“I expect that differences of opinion will be accommodated in the interest of making the best decision. I expect to lead with humility and create the environment for a participatory, open, honest, transparent, efficient and effective council. I expect, however, that through it all, we understand that those of us who have to make the decision will not be paralysed by unending discussions,” she said.
Regarding the expanded role of the Councillors and Council, Mrs. Brown Burke said the “groundbreaking legislation” will change the role they play. “We must make ourselves worthy of that office. We must therefore serve everyone and we must do so with mutual respect. Persons won’t trust us until we begin to show that we care, not about ourselves, but the issues that affect them from day to day,” she said.
Mrs. Brown Burke noted that all Councillors will participate in orientation in the upcoming days, “as we put together a schedule for a training retreat, so that we can begin to look at the issues that are before us.”
Senator Brown Burke said the need for facilities and areas, such as the markets and market districts, to become viable centres of economic activity, with suitable and appropriate conditions for vendors and purchasers, are paramount on the agenda.
Senator Brown Burke said the fact that some Councillors were not sworn in may have some implications in terms of the administration of any work programme for the month of April. “This will also mean that the Committees which will meet in April would do so without the benefit of the contribution of 14 of our colleagues,” she added.
Many persons attended the ceremony, including senior and junior Government Ministers; Members of Parliament; family members of the elected Councillors, and well wishers.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter