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Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government Reform in the Office of the Prime Minister, Robert Montague, has informed that the Government is continuing its consultations with stakeholders, for the development of a Single Road Authority.
Making his presentation in the 2008/09 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, yesterday (June 24), the State Minister explained that the single road authority would not be a system in which all parish council roads would be transferred to the National Works Agency (NWA) or vice versa.
“Instead, we envisage a new entity that will have clearly defined rules of engagement. Not an entity that is everything and anything to all. It will have clear distinct features,” Mr. Montague said.
The three major areas to be addressed under this new entity will include: a regulatory and policy arm; construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges; and routine maintenance.
In addition, Mr Montague said that the Local Government Department was in the process of putting final touches to the building code, which Prime Minister Bruce Golding would bring to the Lower House shortly.
He also informed that the Department is currently working with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Parish Councils, and the citizens to have Development Orders done around the island. “I must issue a word of warning to our developers, investors, home builders, and architects that we will be recovering the full cost to remedy any breach of the building code. Likewise, for those who continue to send in incomplete plans, a penalty will be applied,” Mr. Montague said.
The State Minister pointed out that community land tribunals would be placed within the Councils to allow Jamaicans with family of ‘dead-lef’ land to be able to get a title.
“We are going to formalise our systems of land tenure and occupancy. We have too many ‘rich poor people’, rich in assets but poor in pocket. We must, for the good of the nation, release our people to legally maintain access to their land and allow them to pay property taxes,” Mr. Montague said.