Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis has given the present administration of the St. James Municipal Corporation a passing grade on the occasion of celebrating its first year in office after gaining 14 of the 17 Municipal Divisions in the November 28, 2016 Local Government Elections.
The administration, under Chairman Davis was sworn into office on December 8, last year with Councillor Leeroy Williams appointed to serve as Deputy Mayor.
Mayor Homer Davis
Speaking at the regular monthly meeting of the St. James Municipal Corporation on Thursday December 14, Mayor Davis gave details of the Corporation’s achievements over the past year, which include the improvement of facilities to boost the morale of employees at the Corporation’s Union Street offices, sidewalk improvement across the city, major drain cleaning works and rehabilitation of several roads across all 17 divisions and completion of rehabilitation work on the City clock at the top of Barnett Street.
Mayor Davis also gave the administration good ratings for efforts aimed at controlling street vending in downtown Montego Bay, and especially at the Charles Gordon Market. He said “we have been able to build 154 new stalls for vendors at the Charles Gordon Market and in keeping with our mandate to take back the streets around that facility, we have seen significant improvements".
He said there have been major improvements in the collection of fees from vendors at the market this year, compared to 2016.
“In 2016, the collection figure stood at $16.7 million and so far for 2017, we have collected $18 million which is an indication that we have made significant strides in ensuring greater cooperation between the vendors and the Corporation. This is a very good signal heading into the new year when we expect even better cooperation from all the stakeholders”, the Mayor stated.
Turning to another area of success, Mayor Davis said the Corporation has made major headways in regularizing the problem-plagued Bogue lands after long hours of discussions with the occupiers and their Lawyers.
He said “we have had a number of meetings with the occupiers and their Lawyer and under the government’s Land Divestment Policy; we are hoping that by the end of 2018, the occupiers will start paying for their lots.
Mayor Davis also spoke of progress which the Corporation has made in addressing challenges at the Old Shoes Market as well as the collection of building fees for private, commercial and resort developments.
He stated that the flood rains which the city of Montego Bay experienced in November resulted in major infrastructural, residential and commercial damage which are being addressed by the Corporation with financial and technical support from Central government as well as private and corporate entities.
Meanwhile, Mayor Davis said he remains adamant that integrity, transparency and hard work will be the hallmark of the St. James Municipal Corporation, despite recent negative reports in which the name of a Councillor and a purported former employee of that Councillor have been linked.
He said says “I will not allow the St. James Municipal Corporation under my Chairmanship to be dragged into the public sphere in any negative light. We have taken a stand to raise the bar in terms of our performance, our behaviours as Councillors and our overall conduct and that assurance which we have given to the people of St. James will not be broken. We were elected to serve the people of our Division and by extension, the people of this parish and as Mayor and Chairman of this Corporation; we will undertake our responsibilities to the best of our abilities”.
Turning to the issue of Christmas treats, Mayor Davis stated that funds raised from the December 2 staging of the Mayor’s Charity Ball will be used to offset treats in the five St. James constituencies. The treats will take place on December 20 in Central and North West St. James at the Farm Heights Community Centre and the Flanker playfield respectively.
Thursday December 21 will see treats being held in East Central St. James at the John Rollins Success Primary School, Adelphi Primary School and at the Spring Mount Basic School, while on Sunday December 24 it will be the turn of South St. James at the Montpellier Showground and West Central St. James at the Catherine Hall Stadium. The treats which start at 10 am are aimed at bringing Christmas joy to at least 5,000 children and 500 elderly from the five constituencies. Each Councillor will be given 30 gift packages for distribution in their division.