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» BREAKING NEWS, GUEST RUNDOWNS » IF JLP COUNCILOR HAS HIS WAY EXTORTIONISTS WILL BE COLLECTING MARKET FEES!

IF JLP COUNCILOR HAS HIS WAY EXTORTIONISTS WILL BE COLLECTING MARKET FEES!

Jamaica  Labour Party (JLP) Councilor John Myers has suggested that the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation use the “collection skills” of extortionists to make markets profitable. Vernon McLeod told the Finance Committee meeting of the KSAMC on May 31 that something had to be done to turn the monthly market deficit of $5.5 million around. He said that a cashless system was being examined as one of the ways to address the fee collection problem.

market scene

It is estimated that $17 million in market fees is owed to the KSAMC and that most of it may have to be written off as uncollectible. The Finance Committee chairman has instructed Gary Robotham, the manager of commercial services, to provide a schedule of the arrears.

Robotham has also been instructed to do the ageing of receivables for it to be determined the portion of the outstanding fees that would be collectible.

Myers, who shops in the market district, said that he has observed the situation and that the KSAMC should meet with the extortionists and ask them “how much money they get”.

The KSAMC would then pay the extortionists “that amount” and use them to officially collect market fees from the vendors.

“This was done in New York and it worked,” Myers said.

market

JLP Councilor Lee Clarke of the Whitehall division said that at a retreat some time ago, it had been argued that if market fee collection was done effectively “revenue from the market district can run the KSAMC”.

“We need to do something drastic,” he said.

People’s National Party (PNP) Councilor Gareth Walker of the Brandon Hill division said that for the KSAMC to earn income from the markets they would have to be divested. He said that cold storage should be developed as an income earner for the corporation.

On a question from PNP councilor Neville Wright as to whether a cess from the sea and airports could be a revenue earner for the KSAMC, the meeting decided to ask CEO Robert Hill to determine its feasibility.

— Claudienne Edwards

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