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By Luther A. Irving: McKoy’s News Writer
Montego Bay, St. James
JLP Councillor for the Montego Bay South Division in the constituency of Central St. James, Richard Vernon Jnr. blasted the Financial Committee of the St. James Municipal Corperation, for – “their failure to collect outstanding funds duly owed to the Municipal Council.”
Councillor Vernon sharply point out that the present management does not have a database in place to adequately monitor and collect outstanding monies owed to the municipality.
Mckoy’s News sat down with Councillor, Richard Vernon Jnr. of St. James South Division, to bring the public the pressing issues facing the St. James Municipal Corporation.
The Montego Bay South Division Councillor outlined why the St. James Municipal Corporation’s present finance system is outdated and below standard.
Councilman Vernon Jnr. stated that:
- St. James Municipal Corporation Finance Department does not know the total number of businesses registered with the Corporation.
- They do not have a clue in regards to the number of Barbers and Hair Dressing parlors within the Corporation’s collecting zone. In fact, the only time the administration is aware of the nonpayment of fees of the businesses is when the municipality police visits the various establishments – only to find out that their payments are way behind schedule.
- Many business establishments fail to acquire a Business License to operate, while some have been long expired.
Councilman Vernon Jnr. told Mckoy’s News that the St. James Municipality has no idea of how many buildings exist within their region.
“Both the Catherine Hall Stadium and Jarrett Park are losing money, left right and centre.” He states.
He added that the Old Hospital Park, situated along Gloucester Avenue are among some the losing entities operated by the St. James Municipal Corporation.
Vernon Jnr. said the Charles Gordon Market is also another losing entity.
He is also chastising the former administration for allowing transformation of the food market into what he calls “a fashion and haberdashery outlet.” “It was built to accommodate food vending, not a clothes market!” remarked the no-nonsense councilor.
“The Montego Bay abettors which was once used to slaughter animals has been closed for some time now… people who are wanting to have their animal slaughtered have to seek out some private slaughter-house for this to take place.”
“Once the public health inspector stamped the carcass, it’s good to go, eat!” He recalled.
St. James Municipal Corporation, he said, is losing much-needed revenue as results of these losing entities. He pointed out that the only sustainable financial collections are the car-parks operated by the St. James Municipal Corporation. These however, Councilor Vernon Jnr. said, are not financially viable to the municipality’s coffer.
The St. James JLP Councilor was okay with airing to the public, what he calls the sloppy management of the St. James Municipal Corporation – which the St. James businessman who recently took office as Councillor, doesn’t believe is correct way of doing business.
Vernon Jnr. also cited the need for the present administration to have the accounting department of the St. James Municipal Corporation upgraded with a more modern and better equipped database system that can track down delinquent traders.
“It cannot [continue to] be business as usual,” he affirmed.
Councilor Vernon Jnr. will be leading the charge in getting the Municipal department to be a more viable and business friendly entity.
The young Politician added,
“Billions are out there to collect by the Council.”
“We just have to have the right system in place to collect what is dully belongs to the citizens of St. James – through their trustee – St. James Municipal Corporation.
“We as a Council cannot, and will “Not” be functioning [like we did] before. Someone will have to pay unto Cesar what are rightly due to Cesar,” remarked the adamant councilman.
Councilor Vernon Jnr. concluded our interview with some of his long-term ambitions for the city of Montego Bay, which includes, getting the citizen, including the business, and private sectors, along with the St. James Police, Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, St. James Municipal Corporation, and the NSWA to work in tandem with each other.
He told McKoy’s News that he is looking into setting up a committee with full responsibility to carry out some much-needed fundraising events, to help bring back love and unity within Jamaica’s “Second City.”
In ending Richard Vernon Jnr. said, the people of Montego Bay have lost trust in the Government. He aims to repair the relationship between the community and the St. James Municipal Corporation, by creating and facilitating employment, growth and community based events. One way to accomplish this is through allocation of payments collected, after the changes in the Council’s financial operation.