JIS News

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, has called on Jamaicans to get involved in the local government reform process, noting that the aims and objectives of the reforms will not be fully realised without the public’s input and support.
He was addressing a town hall meeting on Monday, July 20, at the Port Antonio High School in Portland.
According to Mr. Montague, local government reform will empower the Parish Councils to be more efficient and responsive to the needs of the people, whom they serve.
One of the major objectives of the reform process, he said, is the constitutional entrenchment of the local government system to clearly define the roles of Parish Councillors as distinct from that of Members of Parliament.
He noted that a number of functions will also return to the Councils, which will make them more effective and autonomous. The proper functioning of the Parish Development Committee (PDC) is critical to the success of the reform process, he said.
Mr. Montague said that Jamaicans need to be informed about the roles and responsibilities of councillors and local government authorities in order to better understand the extent of the service to which they are entitled.
Observing that the day-to-day responsibilities of Parish Councils are complex and enormous, Mr. Montague said it has become necessary for local authorities to form partnerships with other community organisations to maximise their effectiveness.
Earlier in the day, the State Minister held a private meeting with local officials and representatives of agencies to discuss the effectiveness of the service being provided to the people of Portland.
Among the organisations represented were the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA); Portland Fire Brigade; National Water Commission (NWC); Portland Infirmary; National Works Agency (NWA); Social Development Commission (SDC); Portland Poor Relief Department; and the Portland Health Department.

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