Mayor of Kingston, Senator Desmond McKenzie, today (March10) presented the Key to the City (posthumously) to former Mayors Marie Atkins and Ryan Peralto Snr, during the monthly meeting of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) in the Council chamber, Church Street,Kingston.
The Keys, along with citations which were read by Town Clerk, Errol Greene, were presented to members of Mr. Peralto’s family, and Councillor Phillip Duncan, who accepted on behalf of Mrs. Atkins’ family.
Mayor McKenzie said that the presentations symbolised the KSAC’s appreciation of the work of both awardees, who served the Council with distinction for a number of years.
Mayor of Kingston, Senator Desmond McKenzie, (left) presents the Key to the City to Councillor Phillip Duncan, who accepted the posthumous award on behalf of former mayor, Marie Atkins’ family, during the monthly meeting of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation’s (KSAC) at the Council’s chambers, Kingston, on March 10.
“I believe that the work of Marie Atkins and Ryan Peralto has gone a far way in enhancing local government, and we want to express our profound appreciation and thanks,” he said.
“We recognise their efforts, and we will continue to keep their names alive in this city, because they deserve the recognition that was bestowed on them posthumously,” the Mayor added.
Ryan Peralto Jnr. thanked the Council on behalf of his late father, Ryan, noting that the family was “humbled by this honour.” Councillor Duncan responding on behalf of Mrs. Atkins’ family said he deemed it an honour to accept the award on their behalf.
He said that Mayor McKenzie and the Council should be congratulated for the steps they had taken to honour the two eminent citizens of the Corporate Area, who had distinguished themselves by their service to the people of the municipality.
“We are thankful that you have ensured that the names of these, our citizens, will be indelibly etched in the annals of the KSAC, among all those outstanding individuals and organisations who contributed so much to the development of the city,” he said.
The presentation of the Key to the City is the highest honour the Council can bestow on an individual.
Mrs. Atkins died in December last year. She became the third female Mayor of Kingston in 1989 and served until 2003.She was first elected a KSAC Councillor in 1974, for Waterhouse. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Marie Atkins Basic School and the Balmagie Day Care Centre in the division, and made tireless efforts to raise funds for the Balmagie Primary School.
Mrs. Atkins also established the Mayor’s Feeding and Hygiene Programme, in conjunction with the Poor Relief Department, to provide meals, clothing and bathroom facilities for indigent on a daily basis, and raised funds for the establishment of a night shelter for the homeless at Hanover Street, named the Marie Atkins Night Shelter.
The late Senator and former Member of Parliament, Ryan Peralto, died in January this year.During his long political career, which began in the late 1970s, he served as Mayor of Kingston, Minister of State in the Ministries of National Security and Trade and Industry, as well as General Secretary and, later, Chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
He was a member of the Electoral Advisory Committee (EAC) and played a pivotal role in the electoral reform process, in terms of his contribution to the development of the improved registration and electronic voter identification systems.
Mr. Peralto was also a Vice-President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) and a director of the Caribbean Association of Industry and Commerce (CAIC).