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Buoyed by the prospects of the dialogue, networking and experience-sharing opportunities with regional and international Local Government interests, Jamaica’s delegation leaves the island on Sunday (May 10) to participate in the 4th Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) in the Bahamas.
The four-day international conference is being held under the theme: ‘Improving Local Government: the Commonwealth Vision’. It is being held in the Americas for the first time with 900 participants from 53 Commonwealth countries expected to attend.
Led by Minister of State with Responsibility for Local Government, Robert Montague, with Prime Minister, Bruce Golding to make an address on Thursday (May 14) on the topic: ‘Putting vision into practice: measuring impact,’ Jamaica’s delegation is aiming for full exposure and participation in the event.
The presentation on the Regional Cooperation Framework Policy (RCFP) by Jamaica, with the hope of gaining ratification from the other 12 member countries of the Caribbean Forum of Local Government Ministers (CFLGM), as a preparatory step for acceptance on the CARICOM Agenda, is an exciting prospect for the group.
The RCFP emanated from two regional Local Government conferences held in Montego Bay in 2008, through funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Commonwealth Secretariat (COMSEC), and involved regional Local Government ministers and administrators.
While all 14 Local Authorities have indicated a willingness to participate in the conference, the global and local economic situation has dictated a reduction in the contingent of mayors, councillors and administrators of Councils.
The group will be attending a series of plenary session and workshops as part of the conference exchange and to return with information and presentations for sharing with Councils and communities as well as implementing at least two best practice initiatives for improved local governance.
Jamaica has been the beneficiary of at least four best practice schemes through the local authorities in St. Mary, Clarendon, Portmore and St. James under the CLGF.
CLGF is the internationally recognised conference for Local Government policy makers and practitioners in the Commonwealth and is held every three years. Jamaica currently holds the chairmanship for the CFLGM.
The 13-member countries of the CFLGM are: Jamaica, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Suriname, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana.