- Deputy Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Andrew Swaby, is assuring that funds have been adequately allocated to carry out drain and gully cleaning activities.
- This assurance comes in light of concerns raised that resources have not been sufficiently allocated to undertake the activities in the Corporate Area.
- The list of drains in critical need is in keeping with previous years and that the technical team had not yet completed the final list.
Deputy Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Andrew Swaby, is assuring that funds have been adequately allocated to carry out drain and gully cleaning activities in areas deemed most critical across the city.
This assurance comes in light of concerns raised that resources have not been sufficiently allocated to undertake the activities in the Corporate Area.
Speaking at a Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) Council meeting at its Church Street chambers in downtown Kingston on Tuesday, June 10, Councillor Swaby dismissed claims of bias and victimisation regarding the allocation of funds for the activities.
Mr. Swaby pointed out that the list of drains in critical need is in keeping with previous years and that the technical team had not yet completed the final list.
“The Mayor (Councillor Angela Brown Burke) in her meeting with the minority leader outlined the mitigation programme, indicating that a list of critical drains was being developed by the technical staff to allow work to begin shortly. She also indicated that divisions not covered by the critical list would also receive an allocation to allow for mitigation activities,” he said.
Mr. Swaby said drains that are deemed critical for cleaning are those that fall under the following conditions: drains that are blocked with solid waste, silt and vegetation among other deterrents that will cause flooding and damage to lives and property.
Also, main drains that discharge into the sea carrying tributaries from minor drains; drains that are inadequately sized to carry large volumes of storm water; and drains that discharge into culverts passing under roadways.
Mr. Swaby added that these are the criteria used by the technical team to determine which drains are classified as critical and therefore is given priority for mitigation drain cleaning.
“Nowhere in these criteria does it mention anything about drains being cleaned based on political representation, or geographical location,” he said.
Mr. Swaby said that in the month of May, an allocation of $450,000 was made to all divisions from the annual divisional allocation fund.
“As all Councillors know, the divisional allocation fund is used at the discretion of councillors, but this release was timed to coincide with the start of the 2014 hurricane season,” he said.
Councillor Swaby also noted that the preliminary list only reflects six divisions having allocation of a million dollars and over, and the remaining, averaging $525,000.
The cleaning of drains and gullies form part of the Corporation’s mitigation plans for the upcoming hurricane season.
In the meantime, Councillor Winston Ennis was recognised as the new Minority Leader. He replaces Tosha Schwapp.
Mr. Swaby noted that a meeting has already taken place, comprising the Mayor, the new minority leader and himself.
He said that at the meeting, the Mayor re-stated her commitment to working with the minority caucus in the interest of the municipality, and the new minority leader indicated his appreciation of the Mayor’s open door policy and promised to work together in the interest of the municipality.