JIS News

The National Advisory Council on Local Government Reform, which was convened last year to facilitate the process of re-organizing local authorities, is expected to complete its report by the end of June for discussion with stakeholders in July.
Local Government, Community Development and Sport Minister, Portia-Simpson Miller, in her contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in Gordon House recently, said the consultation with stakeholders, would assist the Council in finalizing its recommendations.The work of the Council, is but part of the process to effect local government reform, as the local authorities are also required to develop and submit a reform plan that enjoys wide support from citizens within the respective jurisdictions. “I have been less than happy with the pace of this activity in the councils”, the Minister said, noting that, “in recent times I have sensed a greater urgency on the part of some councils such as St. Thomas, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth to push this process along”. Another area of focus, she indicated, was the establishment of Community Development Committees to facilitate the participation of citizens in the process of governance.
Reform Council.2She noted that, the Ministry has been improving the capacity of local authorities through a range of training interventions at all levels. “In an effort to adequately respond to the challenges of sustainable local development, the Ministry focused on upgrading the human resource and technical capacity within the planning departments of the local authorities,” the Minister informed.Focus has been placed on the rehabilitation of infrastructure including roads, markets and parish council buildings and the development of a maintenance programme to ensure the sustainability of the parish infrastructure.There has also been the promulgation of major laws for the restructuring of local government operations in three major areas: Local Government Reform, Local Government Finance and Financial Management; and Unified Local Government Service. This process also included the legislative review of priority laws for amendment and enchantment.As part of the reform process, focus is being placed on preparing and implementing parish development plans in a participatory process involving all stakeholders including community groups, the public, and private sectors.There is also emphasis on the financial autonomy of the local authorities, which includes identifying and implementing dedicated sources of revenue. “This would effectively deliver the range of services expected by the citizens,” Minister Simpson-Miller noted, adding that more direct discussion would be pursued with the Minister of Finance during the financial year, to arrive at new agreements to facilitate the achievement of this objective.The final area of focus, the Local Government Minister said, would be the advancement of local democracy in the Caribbean and active participation in international fora.
Reform Council.3″Jamaica has been playing a leading role in the promotion and advancement of local democracy in the Caribbean and we have been vibrant in our representation at international fora on local democracy and governance issue,” she pointed out.

Skip to content