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Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Desmond McKenzie has announced that the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), would suspend its planned billboard removal activities for eight companies, which owe the KSAC in excess of $38 million in overdue signage fees. The KSAC publicized the names of the eight companies last month.
Speaking at the KSAC’s monthly briefing yesterday (March 8) at the Council’s Church Street offices, the Mayor informed journalists that following last month’s press briefing where he announced that millions of dollars was outstanding to the Council, the named companies had made contact with the KSAC.The companies are, J. Wray and Nephew, Red Stripe, MoneyGram, McDonalds, Burger King, Texaco Caribbean, Esso Corporation, and the Shell Company.
Mayor McKenzie also noted that the KSAC had made revisions to the total debt owed by the companies based on calculations that were made after the initial announcement. According to the Mayor, in fact, “the figure was closer to $60 million.”
He said following the press briefing last month, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce intervened on the behalf of the companies, and subsequently, a meeting was held between the KSAC and the Chamber to hammer out a resolution.
“Of the eight companies, at least four have made themselves friendly with the KSAC by paying up the amounts owing and discussions between ourselves and the remaining companies are ongoing,” the Mayor said.
Speaking further, he said, “out of these discussions we have taken a decision to suspend the billboard removal exercise and we are showing good faith here as we have gotten commitments from the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, as well as the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association that they will now encourage their membership to comply, and based on that, we don’t want to do anything further that is going to muddy up the waters so we have put the exercise on hold,” he informed.
Mr. McKenzie said he was pleased with the quick response of the companies but cautioned that other companies would do well to attend to their obligations.
“We are extremely happy by the response we have gotten from corporate Jamaica and I hope we will never have to take the kind of approach we took last month to get people to understand that they have an obligation and they must live up to their responsibilities,” he stated.