JIS News

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with Responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, has said that all Councillors should be duly recognized and included on the order of precedence at official functions.
“When you check on the order of precedence, Councillors are not included on the order, so that at official functions Councillors are not recognized. I have taken it onto myself that Councillors must be included on the order of precedence because a Councillor is an elected official. He is an official of the Government of Jamaica and if there is an official function, the Councillor must so be recognized. We have begun the discussions with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and these are going well so far,” Mr. Montague said.
He was addressing representatives of the St. James Parish Council at a special meeting in the Council’s chamber yesterday (June 15) during a visit to that local authority.
The Minister of State also gave notice that he would be seeking to have all Councillors who had served the country well and some of whom who were presently experiencing hard times, be officially registered for state support.
“I am also working on a programme with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and I am going to be asking all Councillors here to help me. There is a category of Councillors who retired after 1986 but served before 1986 so they are not pensionable, but they have served already. Some of them have given 40, 50, years of service and they are not eligible for a pension,” he said.
“I am therefore going to be asking that a list be prepared of those Councillors who are still alive in St. James and forward it to me so that they can be included in the discussions that I am having with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. A lot of them are on hard times right now and can’t even qualify for PATH and they have served this country well,” Minister Montague pointed out.
In alluding to conditions at the parish’s infirmary and the work of the Poor Relief Department, Mr. Montague expressed the view that these lands which were very valuable should be sold, the funds placed in an irrevocable trust and the proceeds of that trust be used for the upkeep of the home/infirmary.
“In St. James this is different . and therefore we will have to begin discussions with both the Parish Council and National Housing Development Corporation (NHDC) in order to regularize that situation and to give those persons titles so that they can now go and pay their taxes,” the State Minister told participants.
Mr. Montague and his team, along with representatives of the National Solid Waste Authority (NSWA) led by the Chief Executive Officer, Joan Gordon-Webley, were on the first leg of a tour of Parish Councils across the island to inform the local authorities on the process of Local Government Reform.

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