The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) became a body corporate as a result of the amalgamation of the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew in 1923, when by virtue of Law 3 of 1923, they were merged into a single Municipal Unit.
By 1924 the new Municipal Authority was elected led by the Honourable H.A. Laselve Simpson, solicitor, legislator, able polemicist and one of the leading advocates of the amalgamation. He became the first mayor of the new metropolis, having previously served as Mayor of the City of Kingston from 1913-1916.
The new council comprised eight (8) Elected Councillors, four (4) Co-opted Aldermen and four (4) Ex-Officio Members, namely the Elected Members of the Legislative Council for the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, the Director of Public Works and the Superintending Medical Officer. The council established its Board Room and office at 24 Church Street where the Council Chamber is still located. The Head Office of the Corporation was removed to the Kingston Mall at 1-3 King Street in October 1977.
However, Kingston as a Chartered City dates back to 1802 when a body styled, “The Mayor, Aldermen and Commonality of the City and the Parish of Kingston” replaced the old Parish Vestry of Kingston which had managed local affairs since Kingston’s founding in 1692. The Council was given a seal and empowered to make bye-laws, ordinances and regulations for the good order of the City.
Kingston’s first Mayor was the Honourable John Jacques; and there were 12 aldermen and 12 councilmen, making a total including the Mayor of 25 persons, all of whom were directly elected. The population of the parish of Kingston was then 30,000 of whom only 250 of its citizens were entitled to vote.
Following the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865 and the introduction of pure Crown Colony government the following year, under the governorship of Sir John Peter Grant, the City Council was abolished by Law 8 of 1866 and replaced by a purely nominated Municipal Board appointed by the governor and accountable only to him.
In 1872, Kingston, which had long been the commercial centre of Jamaica, finally supplanted Spanish Town as the Capital of Jamaica. By 1884 when a measure of representation was introduced to Crown Colony government, the Local Authority similarly benefited by the introduction of a half-nominated, half-elected Council. Eventually it became a largely elected body, but with very limited powers.
The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) continues to guide the growth and development of the Corporate Area, despite the many challenges it faces. With a population of nearly 700,000 and an area of just over 185 square miles, the municipality is ranked as the commercial capital of Jamaica and the epicentre of interest for locals and visitors alike.
The municipality is bordered by the famous Blue Mountains in the extreme north, home of the world’s number one coffee and Kingston Harbour in the south, one of the finest natural harbours in the world. To the east is the once notorious city of Port Royal, home of Caribbean Sea pirates, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692 paving the way for the blooming of Kingston. To the west looms Highway 2000, a 230-kilometre highway leading into the rustic agricultural and tourism interior and coasts of the country.
Pregnant with a rich cultural heritage, Kingston is blessed with a number of historical sites, vacation ‘hot spots’ and a haven for day and night entertainment, including the imposing Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Cathedral, the historic Ward Theatre and the famous National Stadium, stomping ground of Jamaica’s world renowned athletes.
The affairs of the Council are managed by full time administrative staff responsible for policy implementation and a Political Directorate responsible for policy formulation.