Parish Councillors Urged to Obey Guidelines

Photo: Garwin Davis Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says parish councillors who continue to flout the law can expect to be aggressively pursued by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG).
  • “Gone are the days when a councillor could just write on a piece of paper that so and so is being recommended to carry out work on a project for a particular sum. And if for some reason that practice is still continuing, then be prepared to face the wrath of the OCG, as the guidelines are clear,” he warned.
  • The Minister also cautioned councillors against making promises that they cannot fulfil, reminding them that it is always important to maintain their credibility with the people.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says parish councillors who continue to flout the law can expect to be aggressively pursued by the Office of the Contractor General (OCG).

Addressing councillors from Hanover, St. James, Westmoreland and Trelawny, at a sensitisation session at the Iberostar Hotel, in St. James, on February 22, the Minister told them to pay strict attention to guidelines, emphasising that ignorance will no longer be an accepted line of defence.

“Gone are the days when a councillor could just write on a piece of paper that so and so is being recommended to carry out work on a project for a particular sum. And if for some reason that practice is still continuing, then be prepared to face the wrath of the OCG, as the guidelines are clear,” he warned.

The Minister said it is important that guidelines are adhered to, regardless of party affiliation, warning that there will be no preferential treatment as it relates to sanctions.

Mr. McKenzie said he is aware that parish councils, from time to time, will violate procedures without intending to do so, stressing the need for them to be even more vigilant as it relates to the guidelines, and to ask questions when in doubt.

“There is a situation where the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation has now found itself in a position where it needs to complete a project but certain guidelines were not followed,” the Minister noted.

“The fact that this is a programme which involves an international agreement, and which will be of real benefit to Westmoreland, makes it even more serious. There is a right way to go about doing these things, and ignorance is not an option,” he added.

The Minister explained that this is the very reason why the orientation and sensitisation sessions are necessary.

“It has become necessary to guide the councils as to their roles. It is about the things we can do and what we cannot do as we carry out our functions as representatives of the people,” he said.

The Minister also cautioned councillors against making promises that they cannot fulfil, reminding them that it is always important to maintain their credibility with the people.

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