JIS News

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  • Jamaica has agreed to assist Costa Rica to establish a Local Government system which includes facilitating visits by Costa Rican Government officials to familiarise themselves with the Parish Council and Municipal system in Jamaica.
  • This is among other areas of functional cooperation being considered to strengthen ties between the two countries.
  • President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera noted that Costa Rica lagged behind many other countries in terms of the absence of a strong Local Government system.

Jamaica has agreed to assist Costa Rica to establish a Local Government system which includes facilitating visits by Costa Rican Government officials to familiarise themselves with the Parish Council and Municipal system in Jamaica. This is among other areas of functional cooperation being considered to strengthen ties between the two countries.

The issues were raised during bilateral talks between Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and the President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose while the Prime Minister attended the Third Summit of Heads of Government of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) January 28- 29.

President Solis noted that Costa Rica lagged behind many other countries in terms of the absence of a strong Local Government system and said Jamaica was seen as a country with a strong track record in this area. He also pointed to Prime Minister Simpson Miller’s reputation as a leader in Local Government.

Prime Minister Simpson Miller used the opportunity to provide an overview of the Local Government system in Jamaica including its history, structure, supporting legislation, areas of responsibility, funding mechanisms and the compensation of local government representatives.

She also spoke to reforms now underway including the creation of one Municipality and the introduction of new financial management systems to improve accountability, as well as initiatives to monitor the progress of development approvals across local authorities.

The Prime Minister noted that while Jamaica has not accomplished all of its objectives in relation to local government, the efforts at strengthening the system were ongoing including the Local Government Reform Bill now before Parliament.

She pointed out that the main goal was to improve the delivery of services to the people at the community level. In this regard, she also spoke to the important role of Parish Development Committees particularly in addressing the challenges facing deep rural communities. A Taskforce on Rural Development has also been set up, Prime Minister Simpson Miller said, to serve as a catalyst for rural development.

The wife of the Costa Rican President, First Lady Mercedes Penas Domingo also participated in the discussions. The Costa Rican First Lady has worked in Local Government in Central America and the Caribbean and has expressed an interest in visiting Jamaica to observe the Local Government system here.

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