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Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, will be visiting all parish councils next week.

Speaking at a press briefing, held at the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) on January 18, the Minister emphasised  that the parish council is a vital part of local government and he  wants “to get to the councils as quickly as possible, so that I can get an on-site appraisal."

The Minister  said that he has already begun to conduct assessments on the state of the operations of the departments and agencies that fall under his portfolio.

He noted that his early findings show that the parish councils are facing many challenges, but he will not be daunted by those challenges.

The Minister said that the fundamental guiding principles for success are participation, accountability and responsibility. “Once we get those from day one, I am sure that we will have no problems," he said.

Mr. Arscott argued that the participation of the people in the activities and operation of the councils is of paramount importance. “I will also work with the Parish Development Committees (PDC) and the Community Development Committees (CDC) to ensure that the maximum participation of our population is ensured,” he  said.

This will enable the creation of a cohesive framework from which mutually beneficial policies and programmes will be implemented, the Minister added.              

He emphasised  that the empowerment of the people will always be etched in the operations of the Ministry. “We are here to serve the people and, therefore, we have a mandate to work on their behalf,” Mr. Arscott said.

The Minister urged all parish councils, PDCs and CDCs to ensure that they work with the constituents in order to develop a better Jamaica.

Since his appointment, the Minister has met with representatives from the Fire Department, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the Social Development Commission (SDC) to chart the way forward.