Mayor of Kingston Delroy Williams announced today that a raft of changes have been implemented to the planning permission and building approval processes of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) to improve transparency and accountability.
Addressing today's monthly meeting of the corporation, Williams, who is also the chairman, noted that the issues plaguing the council's building and planning committee have been longstanding and that he is moving to make tangible changes.
The KSAMC has faced renewed scrutiny over its approvals and enforcement of building permits.
Among other things, the local authority was the subject of criticisms from the Supreme Court which ruled in December 2020 that approvals given by the KSAMC and the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) to the developers of 17 Birdsucker Drive, St Andrew, were done illegally and with breaches already committed.
In an effort to address the issues, Williams said that the chief engineer now has to submit, on the last working day of each month, a detailed list of all building works across the municipality and their status.
Further, there will now be mandatory inspections every three months for every development and designated stages of completion inspections.
Additionally, there is also to be a rotation of building officers across the municipality.
An internal audit was also ordered by the mayor and the finding will be presented to the corporation.
Additionally, the mayor also outlined more changes, including the posting of all approved and refused applications on the corporation's website and an ICT system for recording and monitoring complaints.
Williams says he will effect tangible change to improve the transparency and accountability of the building approval process, and if nothing else, this will be his legacy.
MINORITY CAUCUS MEMBERS RESIGN
Earlier today, members of the Minority Caucus of the KSAMC resigned from the building and planning committee to register their dissatisfaction with how the body is operating.
The caucus, which comprised People's National Party (PNP) councillors, raised concerns about what it called the integrity, transparency and efficacy of the committee.
According to chairman of the Minority Caucus, Councillor Andrew Swaby, the situation has been made worse by a lack of support of recommendations aimed at improving the operations of the committee.
Swaby argued that in light of recent court rulings which have placed the building and planning committee under a microscope, the Opposition is concerned that the current administration is not taking these rulings and allegations of corruption seriously.
However, Williams emphasised that concrete steps are being taken to make the process more efficient, transparent and accountable.