JIS News

Draft amendments for the entrenchment of Local Government in the Jamaican constitution have been completed, and are with the Ministry of Justice for scrutiny and comments.
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, with special responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, made the disclosure on May 26, while giving opening remarks at the Regional Local Government Consultation and Conference, being held at the Rose Hall Resort and Country Club, in Montego Bay.
According to the State Minister, local government reform is far advanced, as the government has committed itself to complete the process within a specified time. Pointing out that at present there are some 17 pieces of legislation that impact the local government process, he said there is a recommendation for all those legislation to be rolled into one “Local Authority Act,” and work is being done to that end.
“Within that new bit of legislation we are also to define the role and responsibilities of the local authorities, as well as the role and responsibilities of our Councillors,” he pointed out.
The State Minister argued that a significant slice of the budget would have to be dedicated to local government under a reformed system, to alleviate the problem of a lack of resources, which is always present within the system. He said that innovative ways would also have to be found to supplement allocated resources.
He emphasized that training of local government officers and the introduction of technology are key aspects to a reformed local government system.
The Regional Local Government Consultation and Conference takes place from May 26 to May 30. Some 150 participants from 10 countries across the region are in attendance at the conference, including Ministers of Government, local government administrators and senior government officials.
The conference is jointly sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Commonwealth Secretariat, and is aimed at promoting and fostering good local governance across the region. It is being held under the theme: ‘Enhancing Local Governance’.

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