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Prime Minister Simpson Miller has agreed to support the establishment of a secretariat to support the work of the Commonwealth Forum of Local Government Ministers (CFLGM) at the Ministry of Environment and Local Government in Kingston. The request to the Prime Minister came during a courtesy call made by Mr. Carl Wright, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) on the Prime Minister today (Saturday May 20, 2006) at Vale Royal.
The secretariat will serve to advance the work on local democracy and to strengthen the CFLGM structures in the Caribbean and Jamaica.
The Prime Minister has also agreed to be patron of the CLGF. The Prime Minister said that she would use the position of patron to push the programmes of local government, build communities and empower people. She assured the Secretary General that the CLGF has a friend and partner among heads in the Caribbean Region and that she was confident other heads would support the work of the local government body.
In response to the Prime Minister, Mr. Wright said that the Commonwealth body missed her international work but that she could continue to be involved in her position as patron. He said that her agreement to house the secretariat in Jamaica and to be patron of the CLGF were reflective of her continued commitment to local democracy and community empowerment. He said that her appointment as Prime Minister was met with tremendous enthusiasm and assured her that she had friends and partners in the Commonwealth body.
The Prime Minister is expected to raise the issue of local government’s role in Caribbean integration and development at the next CARICOM Summit in July 2006 as a way of building on the initial recognition provided through the Council on Social and Human Development. She was also asked by Mr. Wright to ensure that issues of local democracy and community empowerment were included among subjects to be considered by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in Kampala in 2007.
Prime Minister Simpson Miller took the occasion to congratulate Mayor Bobby Montague who accompanied the Secretary General to the courtesy call, on his being elected as Chairman of both the CLGF and the regional body, the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA). She urged him to continue the work that she started in these bodies.
Minister of Environment and Local Government, the Hon. Dean Peart, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Patricia Sinclair McCalla and Team Leader, Parish Infrastructure Development Programme, Ministry of Environment and Local Government, Mr. Christopher Powell were also present during the courtesy call.