Citizens Urged to Get Involved in Local Government Reform


Minister of State in the office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Hon. Robert Montague, has called on citizens to get involved in the Local Government reform process and to ensure that it works in their interest.
The State Minister made the call at a Town Hall meeting, held at the St. Matthews Anglican Church, in Santa Cruz St. Elizabeth, on June 22, after touring several facilities in St. Elizabeth, including the Parish Council, the Santa Cruz Market and the parish’s Infirmary.
“In this Local Government reform process, we are building capacity at the Councils, so that when you call them and make a report, the Parish Council is in a position, if not to respond fully to your needs, to at least acknowledge that you have a concern,” Mr. Montague said.
He added that the new thrust is to give citizens the power and autonomy that can enable them to be involved in governance, and urged residents in communities across the island to demand to know the role and responsibilities of their local representatives, and hold them accountable for their performance.
“We are calling on you the citizens to be partners in this process, to play an active role, go to the Committee meetings, go to the Council meetings, inform yourselves and insist that every Councillor be accountable to you,” the State Minister stressed.
Emphasising that democracy is about citizens’ participation in governmental affairs, he said the issues faced by communities can be better addressed when people insist on getting representation.
“Although the Councillors are your representatives, they can’t represent your views unless they know them. Out of this we can end up with plans being implemented by the people of the parish, for the parish,” Mr. Montague argued.
The State Minister also urged persons to pay their property taxes and fees charged by the Parish Council, as the taxes and the fees are used to provide services, such as street cleaning and road maintenance.

JIS Social