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The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development will be hosting its inaugural Local Governance Conference from July 17 to 19 at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort in St. James.

The three-day meeting is in keeping with the Ministry’s focus on improving the effectiveness of governance at the local level.

Under the theme ‘Strengthening responsiveness and accountability within the local governance framework’, the event will bring together mayors, chief executive officers, chief financial officers and parish disaster coordinators to examine the role of local government in achieving Jamaica’s macroeconomic and financial targets for 2030 and beyond.

The objective is to strengthen the capacity of political and administrative leaders in the execution of their functions and increase awareness about the role of local government in achieving the national growth agenda.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, said the conference, which will be the first in a series of biennial events, will facilitate discussions and presentations on promoting good governance within “a legislative framework that guides the operations of the local authorities, as well as provide tools that will aid in improving service delivery”.

“I expect great things from the first staging. I believe that through discussion and decisions over the next three days and beyond, this assembly of minds will bring lasting value to local government,” he said.

Areas for discussion are standardisation of the disaster management budget, standard operating procedures, emergency operation centre processes, health and welfare matters, among others.

“My focus on local government has been to bring change to the operations of the Ministry. In this way, the local government system can truly make its full mark on the lives of Jamaicans in areas of disaster management and mitigation,” Minister McKenzie said.