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  • Three strategic bills, which are pivotal to the Local Government reform process in Jamaica, were passed in the Senate on January 8.
  • According to Minister Golding, the three bills constitute the most comprehensive reform of Local Government undertaken in independent Jamaica.
  • The pieces of legislation were passed with seven amendments to the Local Governance Bill; one amendment to the Local Government (Unified Service and Employment) Bill; and two amendments to the Local Government (Financing and Financial Management) Bill.

Three strategic bills, which are pivotal to the Local Government reform process in Jamaica, were passed in the Senate on January 8.

They are the Local Governance Bill; Local Government (Unified Service and Employment) Bill; and the Local Government (Financing and Financial Management) Bill.

Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, who piloted the bills in the Upper Chamber, said they will “give Local Government the modern legislative tools that are needed for optimal responsiveness to communities and citizens.”

He said the reform of Local Government will ensure that more persons are effectively served.

“They represent a significant achievement in the history of the Local Government reform process and were preceded by the passage of the Constitution Amendment Local Government Act 2015 to enshrine Local Government in the Constitution of Jamaica. The disconnect between communities, especially our young people and the prevailing governance structures of the State, has been widely recognised,” he said.

According to Minister Golding, the three bills constitute the most comprehensive reform of Local Government undertaken in independent Jamaica.

He said they will enable public servants at the local level, whether elected or non-elected, to execute their functions efficiently and professionally “thereby… demonstrating to our citizens that Local Government is indeed at the heart of Jamaica’s participatory democracy.”

He used the opportunity to thank the persons, who have participated in the consultative process over the years including Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller; members of the National Advisory Council on Local Government Reform; consultant Keith Miller; the late Professor Rex Nettleford; and Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott.

Opposition Senator, Robert Montague, said the bills “are the result of cooperation from all the political parties in Jamaica, academia, the unions, the Councillors, civil society.”

The pieces of legislation were passed with seven amendments to the Local Governance Bill; one amendment to the Local Government (Unified Service and Employment) Bill; and two amendments to the Local Government (Financing and Financial Management) Bill.

They were passed in the House of Representatives in November 2015.