JIS News

Minister of Local Government and Environment, Dean Peart, has said that his Ministry would be implementing strategies to ensure that meaningful and visible progress was achieved in significant areas of the Local Government Reform Programme.
Mr. Peart gave the assurance during his contribution to the 2006/07 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, (July 26).
“Our focus for this year will include, the capacity building of local authorities, in which we will seek to improve the ability of the authorities to enhance their performance in the delivery of a selected number of services,” he informed.
The Minister further stated that Parish Councils were being prepared to implement the National Building Code, which he expected them to “rigorously enforce”, when it came into effect during the course of the year.
Mr. Peart also said that he would be “ensuring accountability.which is very critical to the reform process for several reasons”.
Expounding, he said, “When I speak about putting in place measures to ensure accountability. I am not confining this to just the Councils being in full compliance with the Government’s procurement guidelines. It includes all situations in which there could be abuse/misuse of public resources and authority, in whatever shape or form that these might manifest themselves”.
In addition, Mr. Peart noted that ensuring sustainable funding for the financing of Local Government, which is one of the fundamental objectives of the Local Government Reform Programme, would be one of the areas prioritized.
Outlining several of these priority areas he informed that, “We are currently working on the production of a printer for Mayors and Councilor, which will help to clarify the roles, responsibilities and relationships within the Councils”.
He further disclosed that a report has been commissioned through the National Advisory Council, headed by Professor Rex Nettleford. This report will cover all the major elements of local government reform, and will be tabled in Parliament as well as made available for public comment and involvement in the process.
The Minister added that he would seek to “move the reform process forward based on the findings and recommendations”.

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