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Minister of State for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, says that the government is fully committed to the reform process to make governance at the local level more effective.
Giving the main address at a town hall meeting of the St. Mary Parish Development Committee held at the Port Maria Civic Centre on Thursday (November 25), Mr. Montague said that the reform process is designed to strengthen the role of local authorities and to make them more autonomous and more responsive to the needs of their clients.
Emerging from the process, he said, parish councils will demonstrate a model of governance in which power at the local level is returned to the citizens.
As part of the reform, each council has been asked to formulate a 20-year development plan, which will take into account all the development projections for the parish.
They will also be required to provide 30 per cent of their budget, invest in alternate energy sources, assume full responsibility for their employees, among other things.
In the meantime, Minister Montague said that the Department of Local Government is in partnership with a number of stakeholders to enhance the services offered by the parish councils.
These include the Register General’s Department (RGD) to provide birth certificates for indigent persons during Local Government Month in November; the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) on the refurbishing of parochial roads; and the Land Administration and Management Programme (LAMP) to provide titles for landowners.