JIS News

Parish Councils will have to earn much more than they are doing now, in order to finance their activities, come Sept 1, 2009, when they will no longer be dependent on Central Government.
This was stated by President of the Association of Local Government Authorities (ALGA), Milton Brown, while addressing community leaders at a Local Government Month symposium, held on November 26, at the Morant Villas, St. Thomas, under the theme: ‘Local Government Reform – Putting Governance in Your Hands’.
He said that Central Government would no longer be responsible for the paying of street lights, and urged citizens to pay their taxes, which would be used to pay for services provided by the council. “If you don’t pay the land tax, the lights will be turned off,” he warned.
Councillor Brown, who is also the Mayor of May Pen, Clarendon, said the role and responsibilities of councillors have changed over the years, and they are now required to play an active role in the governance of their communities.
The Mayor said that councillors are required to do much more than arrange for the cleaning of drains and the patching of roads.
“You have to be able to take active part in the discussions at the community level. You have to be able to lead your community, because that is what governance is about,” he said.
According to Mayor Brown, councillors will soon be receiving a travelling allowance to offset the costs incurred by visiting their communities.
“So, don’t let them give you any excuse that they cannot come, because the country has decided that they have a job to do and will compensate them,” he told the community leaders.
The function was organised by the St. Thomas Parish Council, in collaboration with the St. Thomas Parish Development Committee and the Social Development Commission (SDC).

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