Caribbean Local Government Ministers have approved the final draft of the Regional Policy and Co-operation Framework on Local Governance, which will serve as a guide towards enhancing Local Government in the region.
The sanctioning of the policy came after two days of meetings in Montego Bay, St. James from December 1 to 2.
The policy, which will serve as a reference tool for countries that are developing, reforming, introducing or reintroducing Local Government, will be submitted to the CARICOM Heads of Government for consideration at their next summit.
The Prime Minister, in a statement read by Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Robert Montague, at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Regional Consultation at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club on December 1, lauded the move to adopt the policy, which he said, will help to transform Caribbean societies.
He noted that the world has began to recognise “the tremendous contribution, which strong and effective local governance could make in the quest to achieve good governance and sustainable development and in enabling people to take ownership of the systems and structures of governance”.
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, addresses participants attending the Second Regional Local Government Consultation and Conference, at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club in Montego Bay, St. James, on December 1.
“This is particularly relevant to the Caribbean as we strive to transform our societies, safeguard our environment, improve the quality of life of our people, as well as meeting the challenges posed by globalisation and the impact of external threats to our small, dependent, yet vulnerable economies and societies,” the Prime Minister said.
In the meantime, he lauded the Governments of the region and the international partners, for supporting initiatives aimed at advancing local governance and democracy across the Caribbean over the years.
He noted that these initiatives, which are being sponsored in large part by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), under the Local Governance in the Caribbean project, were aimed at transforming Governments and improving the quality of life of citizens.
“It is necessary at this point to recognise and express appreciation for the contributions and support, which have been forthcoming over the past 15 years,” he stated, noting the role of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago “in supporting the work of the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authority (CALGA) from its inception, as well as hosting several regional conferences, seminars and workshops.”
“We salute the Government of the Bahamas, which has recently taken on the support of the CALGA Secretariat. Jamaica has played its part, as have many other regional Governments,” he added.
The Prime Minister had special commendations for CIDA and the Canadian Government, while lauding the work of other development partners in the initiative, including the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, the Commonwealth Secretariat and Foundation, United States Agency for International Development, the Organisation of American States, United Nations Development Fund and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.