Government is to establish a special fund to assist Parish Councillors in implementing development projects in their Council seats.
The Divisional Empowerment Fund (DEF), which will be introduced in February 2011, will provide $100,000 for each Parish Council Division, to be utilised similar to the way the Community Development Fund (CDF) operates for Members of Parliament (MPs).
Addressing the monthly meeting of the St Mary Parish Council at the Port Maria Civic Centre on Thursday (December 9), Minister for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, said the Councils will be need to establish committees to approve projects to be financed by the Fund.
He cautioned that the projects must meet the established criteria to be approved.
Mayor of Port Maria, Councillor Richard Creary (centre), presiding over the monthly meeting of the St. Mary Parish Council at the Civic Centre in Port Maria on Thursday (December 9). Seated to the Mayor’s right is Minister of State for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague.
Mr. Montague stated that introduction of the initiative is an indication of the Government’s commitment to empowering Parish Councils and ensuring that Parish Councillors have the necessary support to discharge their responsibilities, effectively. He explained that the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) will provide the funds for the cleaning up and beautification of communities during the Christmas season. Councillors will be required to make up work programmes for disbursement.
He said $10 million will also be given to the Councils to finance street naming projects, commencing early in 2011. This initiative will include the erection of community signboards bearing the names of the communities, in addition to the street name signs.
The department will be working closely with the relevant agencies to ensure that land holdings and properties are assigned civic addresses, to allow for easier assessment and better record keeping, as it continues to combine with the Councils to maintain proper and effective governance at the local level, the junior Minister said.
Observing that the Land Administration and Management Project (LAMP) was introduced to assist land owners in acquiring titles for their holdings, Mr. Montague said phase two of that project was now in operation in St. Mary. He exhorted the parish to make use of the opportunity.
He also presented laptop computers to the St Mary Infirmary, and various departments of the St. Mary Parish Council, including the St. Mary Fire Brigade, the St Mary Infirmary and the St. Mary Poor Relief Department.