Government Restates Commitment to Local Gov’t Reform


Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller, has said that central government no matter how decentralized, could not deliver on the multitude of non standardized services being demanded by citizens or directly help needy people in towns, communities and rural areas to achieve sustainable livelihood.
“We want to assure you that this government is deeply committed to a highly reformed and effective local government system in Jamaica. The voices of our people will be heard and in constructive frameworks within which our people too can contribute to determining development priorities and in implementing policies,” she noted.
Mrs. Simpson Miller was delivering the Prime Minister’s message last night (April 19) during the official opening ceremony of the 2004 Commonwealth Local Government Symposium at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay.
The three-day Regional Symposium on Local Democracy and Good Governance in the Caribbean, is being held at the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay from April 19 to April 21 under the theme “Making Local Government Work”.
Local government ministers and other top officials from the 53 member governments of the Commonwealth are participating in discussions aimed at strengthening the system of local governance in the region.
The Local Government Minister observed that the process of decentralization had been successful and had seen the “development of new citizen/state relationships which will be dynamic and appropriate for a 21st century Jamaica”.
“Within this framework it is intended to ensure that a reformed local government system will be a vital force in Jamaica’s political and social life, fully provided with the appropriate personnel and financial resources to succeed at this task . There is a vital role for local government to play in achieving sustainable and equitable development for all our people,” Mrs. Simpson-Miller stressed.
In welcoming the delegates to the regional symposium, the Minister noted that Jamaica was pleased to be host of the regional conference and gave delegates the assurance that the government eagerly awaited the recommendations resulting from the discussions and would do its part in ensuring the implementation of all that was appropriate for the country.
The three day forum has been discussing topics such as; local democracy in the Caribbean, successes and challenges for the future: setting the scene; promoting democracy and good governance; ensuring effective decentralization; delivering quality service to all; setting a regional perspective and forthcoming activities in the Caribbean; and the agenda for regional cooperation.

JIS Social