Newly installed Mayor of Kingston, Councillor Lee Roy Clarke, has pledged to carry on the work of his predecessors to further strengthen the operations of the city.
"I endeavour to serve with honour, humility and dignity, to build on what has been started by my predecessors and to make this municipality (better) and stronger," Mr. Clarke said in his inaugural address on January 10, after being sworn in at the offices of the Kingston and Andrew Corporation (KSAC) located downtown.
"I do not come to office intending to reinvent the wheel… I do not come to solve all the problems that confront us either but, I pledge that I will focus on these challenges and work vigorously to eliminate as many of them as possible," he added.
The new Mayor takes over from Desmond McKenzie, who was last month elected as Member of Parliament for West Kingston.
Mr. Clarke, who will be serving as the 52nd Mayor of the country’s capital city, stated that he is deeply honoured by the confidence bestowed in him by his colleagues, noting that he was looking forward to the co-operation of all the councillors.
Outlining some of the initial areas of focus, he said the Council will place attention on providing more assistance to the homeless and to continue to pursue the request for a licence to operate a City Lotto. "We believe that this lottery will provide increased funding for our programmes and can provide employment for some 2,000 full-time jobs and approximately 5,000 part-time jobs for persons in the Corporate Area and other areas of the country, which will be participating," he argued.
He said the Council also intends to undertake a massive revenue collection drive, targeting business operators, who continue to refuse to pay trade licence and other parochial fees.
"We think that the gaming houses in the Corporate Area should begin to pay an entertainment fee," he added, noting that the programme to restrict unauthorised construction within the municipality will also be continued.
Mayor Clarke stated that the Council will be pressing for acceleration of local government reform, which he said, will give the Council greater autonomy from Central Government and put it in a better position to deal with the challenges facing the city, including unemployment, poor roads, homeless and indigent persons, proper care of golden agers.
He also paid tribute to the former Mayor, whom he said, served the municipality with the highest level of commitment and devotion and has earned the respect not only of Jamaicans but also of local authorities beyond the island's shores.
For his part, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Noel Arscott, commended the new Mayor on his achievement, and encouraged him to do his part in ensuring the success of the Council.
He noted that it is the intention of the Government to ensure that local government reform becomes a reality. "We are committed to that… and will be working assiduously to ensure that we get that done," Mr. Arscott said.
The new Deputy Mayor of Kingston is Councillor for the Havendale Division, Vernon McLeod.
Mayor Clarke has been a Councillor in the KSAC since 1981 and served as Deputy Mayor before his appointment.
He was instrumental in the development of the Corporation's 25-year development plan, writing of the Councillor's Handbook, and the now completed National Advisory Committee on Local Government Reform.