Accountability to be Improved in Parish Councils

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness (right), in conversation with Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie during the sitting of the House of Representatives on June 22. Minister McKenzie made his contribution to the 2016/17 Sectoral Debate.

Story Highlights

  • The Government is putting in systems to improve accountability in the Parish Councils and to enhance service delivery.
  • The Ministry is also moving to develop a standard operating procedure to strengthen accountability in the execution of public responsibilities by all officers in the system, the Minister added.
  • “We will be approaching the Office of the Contractor General to assist us to develop a highly efficient system of procurement for the local authorities,” the Minister said.

The Government is putting in systems to improve accountability in the Parish Councils and to enhance service delivery.

Already, a Land Divestment Committee is in place to ensure that the sale and lease of lands held by the local authorities are done in full compliance with government policies and laws.

According to Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, an Audit Committee will be established soon for all Parish Councils.

The Ministry is also moving to develop a standard operating procedure to strengthen accountability in the execution of public responsibilities by all officers in the system, the Minister added.

Mr. McKenzie, who was making his contribution to the 2016/17 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 22, said that in August all auditors in the Councils will be trained to facilitate a quarterly reporting system, to be implemented later in that month.

“We will be approaching the Office of the Contractor General to assist us to develop a highly efficient system of procurement for the local authorities,” the Minister said.

Mr. McKenzie told the House that the Ministry is serious about enforcing procurement and other financial rules, and where the Councils breach the rules, they will be penalised and denied funding allocations.

The Minister said he will be seeking the support of the Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers (JALGO), and the Association of Local Government Authorities (ALGA), to chart the way forward for the Councils.

He noted that a public-education campaign will be implemented to promote the designated areas for paying of property taxes, and building and licence fees, and to ensure that the public is not “fooled into handing over money to”, unauthorised individuals.

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