Minerals Committee to Discuss Cess at Next Meeting

Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Victor Cummings has said that a proposal to levy a cess on trucks and other large vehicles, which use the road from Harbour View in Kingston to Morant Bay in St. Thomas, would be taken up at the next meeting of the Minerals Development Advisory Committee.
Speaking at a recent public consultation in St. Thomas to sensitise residents about a proposed development plan for the parish, Mr. Cummings said that charging a cess on trucks and other large vehicles was done in other countries, so there was no reason why it could not be done here.
“I believe that the Parish Development Committee and the Parish Council should pass a Resolution on the matter, and it is something that we will take up at the next Minerals Development Advisory Committee meeting. We will have our people look at it and see how best it can be implemented,” the State Minister said. Mr. Cummings is also Chairman of the Committee.
The proposal on the cess was made by Chairman of the St. Thomas Parish Council and Mayor of Morant Bay, Councillor Joan Spencer, who pointed out that the measure would help to retain some of the financial gains generated by natural resources in the parish, such as aggregates.
She said based on the quantity, quality and variety of the resources available, St. Thomas was a rich parish, but strategies were not being put in place to get back some of the benefits.
“When you look at the amount of sand and stone that leave our parish on a daily basis to go to Kingston and abroad, we should be getting back something to develop our parish or to rebuild our roads,” the Mayor said.
Mrs. Spencer called on all stakeholders in the parish to meet and discuss the matter.
The public consultation was an attempt by the Parish Development Committee, the Parish Council and the Social Development Commission to get the residents to put forward suggestions for the development plan, and to raise issues.

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