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KINGSTON — Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, has lauded the invaluable contribution of local officials at the community and national levels.

“You are critical players in the leadership and governance of your jurisdictions, promoting quality delivery of service, economic development, conservation of our environment, the enhancement and sustainability of your community,” he stated.

The State Minister was addressing a consultative workshop with local government officials yesterday at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

He noted that local government officials are often the first point of contact for community members and they play a critical role in setting directions for promoting the socio-cultural, environmental and economic well-being of communities, which form an integral part of the governance structure of the country.

Mr. Montague encouraged the participants to absorb as much as they can from the workshop, so that they can make a difference in their communities.

“This is the game-changing moment. If we are to bring the jobs in the country, it will start in the communities. When the planning committee approves that building application, it is then that employment at the local level will start, the sales in the hardware will start, the professionals will get work, and our economy will begin to boom,” Mr. Montague contended.

The workshop was held to review and reinforce the roles and responsibilities of mayors, councillors, secretary/managers, administrative staff, among others, within the country’s governance structure, while increasing the awareness of agencies and ministries about the coordinating responsibilities of the local authorities.

It also sought to highlight the functions of disaster coordinators, in particular their planning responsibilities prior to disaster threats, and emphasised the need to continuously engage communities/citizens in dialogue for the better planning of their parish.

 

By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter

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