JIS News

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, has expressed the view that community activism is at the heart of local governance in Jamaica.
The State Minister was speaking at an awards presentation ceremony for community service, at Toronto Botanical Gardens in Canada, recently.
“It (community activism) enriches our democratic process and allows citizens to explore the range of opportunities presented to them to advance their community developmental agenda.In those situations, buy-in is not difficult, because citizens can readily identify with the vision and mission of the projects and programmes they themselves help to design,” Mr. Montague said.
He pointed out that accountability is better ensured when there is community activism, since the people involved usually take ownership of the initiatives and take responsibility for their outcomes.
“This bottom-up approach to local governance fosters volunteerism and engenders community pride,” he added.
Community participation is called participatory democracy by academics, Mr. Montague pointed out, “because the process begins with the community, which is a defined geographical area in which the citizens share common ownership of resources and facilities and regard themselves as having common objectives, interests and needs.”
“Modern local governance is an inclusive and dynamic process through which local citizens achieve effective local self-management by active participation in local decision-making processes about the way they live and interact with their environment. The challenge is to convert the energy and creativity at the community level in an organisational form, to allow the citizens to express their interest in matters that affect their daily lives and to develop the sense of responsibility for the communities in which they live and work,” Mr. Montague added.