The City of Kingston got is 52nd Mayor when Councillor Lee Clarke was sworn in yesterday, Tuesday January 10, 2012.
Mayor Clarke who is the councillor for the White Hall division brings to the position years of experience; he has been councillor since 1981 and has served as Deputy Mayor in the Kingston & St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) for the past 8 years. Mayor Clarke was instrumental in the writing of the Councillor’s Handbook, the completion of the final report of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) on Local Government Reform as well as the development of the Corporation’s 25-year development plan.
Making his inaugural address, Mayor Clarke said that he would continue much of the work that was started by his predecessor. “I do not come to office intending to re-invent the wheel” he said, adding that he could not solve all the problems but would focus on addressing as many as possible and that he was looking forward to the co-operation of all the councilors to make the KSAC stronger and better.
The Mayor made clear however, that he would be seeking to implement some of his own ideas namely, one which he first voiced back in 2008, a city lottery. Clarke said then that it had the potential to create more than 7,000 jobs directly and indirectly and earn some $1 billion in the first year. He wanted the idea back on the table because the council faces serious funding problems that have hampered its ability to efficiently carryout its responsibilities particularly as it relates to the numerous roads, drains and gullies within the corporate area.
In addition, Clarke said he plans to push for the implementation of local government reform and appealed to former Mayor Desmond McKenzie and newly installed Minister of Local Government & Community Development, Hon Noel Arscott, to give their full support as members of the House of Representatives.
In his response Minister Arscott congratulated the new mayor and assured him that his administration was committed to the reform process “… and will be working assiduously to ensure that we get that done,” .
The KSAC was holding its first regularly scheduled meeting since the December 29th general elections in which former Mayor Desmond McKenzie was elected as MP for Western Kingston. The corporation also selected a new Deputy Mayor, Councillor Vernon McLeod who represents the Havendale Division.