Councillor for the Norman Gardens Division of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), Senator Angella Brown Burke, was sworn in on April 2, as the 51st Mayor of the nation’s capital.
Senator Brown Burke was elected, by acclamation, to the top political post in the KSAC, by virtue of being the sole nominee for the position, and duly took the Oath of Office.
Her nomination was proposed by Councillor of the Vineyard Town Division, Andrew Swaby, who was also elected by acclamation to serve as her Deputy.
Senator Brown Burke is the KSAC’s fourth female Mayor, following in the footsteps of the late Iris King, the first female who served between 1958 and 1959; Coleen Yap – 1983 to 1986; and the late Marie Atkins – 1992 to 2003.
The new Mayor succeeds Councillor Lee Clarke, who occupied that position for three months, having been installed consequent on his predecessor, Desmond McKenzie’s success in the December 29 General Elections, when he contested the West Kingston seat.
In her address, Senator Brown Burke, in expressing gratitude for the confidence reposed in her by her colleagues, committed herself to open, responsive, transparent and efficient governance.
“I pledge to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in the management of the Council, characterised by integrity and accountability by all, and I intend to lead by example,” she assured.
Senator Brown Burke said her administration is also committed to the redevelopment of downtown and, by extension, all of Kingston and St. Andrew. She gave the Council’s undertaking to work with its various stakeholders in the redevelopment of downtown Kingston, and commended entities and institutions which have already embarked on this undertaking.
“Some work has already begun, and we commend those institutions that have taken the bold step of refurbishing their buildings or buying new ones to house their businesses in the heart of the city. We encourage those other companies who might be thinking of, or even those who aren’t, to make use of the opportunities that are now presenting themselves, and look to be a part of the re-birth of downtown Kingston,” she urged.
The Mayor informed that the new thrust of the current administration is about local economic development. In that regard, she stressed the need for facilities and areas such as the markets and market districts to become viable centres of economic activity, with suitable and appropriate conditions for vendors and purchasers.
Senator Brown Burke also cited security in the municipality as another area of focus for the new administration, and assured that the KSAC will be collaborating with the security forces, “to ensure that both (commercial) business and the market districts continue to maintain the low level of crime that now obtains."
Meanwhile, Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, in congratulating Senator Brown Burke, reiterated the Government’s commitment to facilitating autonomy of the municipal authorities, while assuring that the Ministry stands ready to work with them in this regard.
For their part, outgoing Mayor, Lee Clarke, and former Mayor and current Member of Parliament for West Kingston, Desmond McKenzie, both emphasised the need for unity among the Council’s members on both sides of the floor, in advancing the KSAC’s work.
A large number of guests attended the ceremony, held at the KSAC’s Chambers, Church Street, downtown Kingston. They included: senior and junior Government Ministers; Members of Parliament; members of the Diplomatic Corps; family members, headed by the Mayor’s husband – Paul Burke; and well wishers.
A significant highlight was the convergence of supporters from both major political parties, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and People’s National Party (PNP), who stood outside the municipal building to view the ceremony, which was televised on a big screen mounted across Church Street.
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter