Contribution to the 2015/2016 Sectoral Debate by Mr. Desmond McKenzie

Story Highlights

  • Mr. Speaker, the local government system is often described as a most influential and impactful feature of our democratic system of governance.
  • The manner in which local government is treated suggests that it is not being given the priority it should be given, and is perhaps, the step-child of the political system in this country.
  • Local government is far too important to the lives of ordinary Jamaicans and is too instrumental in the everyday functioning of communities across Jamaica for it not to be treated with respect, regarded as a top priority, and given the support, financial or otherwise, that it quite rightly deserves.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

Mr. Speaker, I am humbled by this opportunity to make yet another contribution to the Sectoral Debate in this Honourable House.

 

Let me pay homage to the Almighty for keeping me fortified and invigorated as I take on the challenges of public life.  It is His inspiration that keeps me focused as I serve my constituents, and indeed, my fellow countrymen and women.

 

I take this opportunity to commend you, Mr. Speaker, for the dignified and even-handed manner in which you have been presiding over the affairs of the House.

 

The Clerk, Deputy Clerk, Assistant Clerk and other members of staff here at Parliament must also be commended for their admirable work.

 

Let me also, Mr. Speaker, specially recognize:

  • My Family – an ever present source of love, compassion and support
  • The Opposition Leader, for the confidence he reposes in me
  • Members of the Opposition’s Team of Spokespersons and the Deputies
  • My Parliamentary Colleagues; on both sides
  • Officers, Delegates and Members of my beloved Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)
  • My Constituents – the industrious and resilient men and women of West Kingston
  • My Two (2) Councillors – Mr. Donovan Samuels of the Tivoli Division and Ms. Lorna Leslie of the Denham Town Division.
  • My Constituency Executive
  • My Constituency Office Staff
  • My Close-Protection Security
  • And other members of my Personal and Support Staff

 

OVERVIEW / OPENING REMARKS

 

Mr. Speaker, the local government system is often described as a most influential and impactful feature of our democratic system of governance.  It is acclaimed for being closest to the people, and in many instances, the nerve centre between Government and the citizenry.  And this is precisely how it should be, Mr. Speaker.

 

What is quite unfortunate however is that while much is often said about local government and how invaluable it is to our democracy, the actions of those presiding over the system do not always bear this out.  As a matter of fact, if the stewardship of this Government is anything to go by, serious questions would have to be asked about the role of local government and the value attached to it.

 

In many respects Mr. Speaker, the manner in which local government is treated suggests that it is not being given the priority it should be given, and is perhaps, the step-child of the political system in this country.

 

This cannot be Mr. Speaker.  Local government is far too important to the lives of ordinary Jamaicans and is too instrumental in the everyday functioning of communities across Jamaica for it not to be treated with respect, regarded as a top priority, and given the support, financial or otherwise, that it quite rightly deserves.

 

Mr. Speaker, it is time we put our money where our mouth is.  It is time we walk the walk instead of merely talking the talk where local government is concerned…READ MORE

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