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KINGSTON — The Department of Local Government will be hosting a roundtable discussion targeting key stakeholders, as it seeks to ramp-up the local governance reform process.

The forum, to be held on Tuesday, June 14 at the department’s Hagley Park Road location in Kingston, is being convened under the theme: ‘Perspectives’.

It will facilitate the views of stakeholders and assess the status of the transformation process, including the challenges, the best practices that can be adopted, and how to collectively provide better governance through more effective control at the local level.

Charged with the responsibility of facilitating local government reform, the Department of Local Government is advancing the process by increasingly placing greater responsibility in the hands of the people through the local authorities. 

The aim is to better enable citizens to fully participate in the decision-making process in their communities and so deepen and safeguard the process of democracy.

Actions have been taken in respect of several areas including legal and financial management; institutional capacity, such as adopting and enabling technology; and approaches that support transparency and accountability and the participatory role of citizens.

As part of the reform process,  a number of initiatives are being undertaken, including the drafting of legislation to entrench local government into the Constitution; the strengthening of community-based-organisations through implementation of the Parish Development Committee (PDC) model in each parish; and allocation of a dedicated percentage of the national budget to local government.

It also includes greater transparency and probity of the local authorities through the establishment of  Local Parish Public Accounts Committees; encouraging the establishment of municipalities, thereby allowing for the direct election of mayors; setting up of a local government reform committee in each parish council; implementing a sustained public education programme to facilitate  citizens’ participation; and preparation of a 20-year development plan for each parish to guide planned  and sustained development.

 

By O. RODGER HUTCHINSON, JIS Reporter