JIS News

Story Highlights

  • A new Local Government Act is now before Cabinet for consideration, aimed at advancing the Local Government process.
  • The Local Government Act is being created by consolidating several existing laws.
  • Adding that proper local governance is the pathway to economic development, both at the local and national levels.

A new Local Government Act is now before Cabinet for consideration, aimed at advancing the Local Government process.

“I can assure you that we (Government) are closer to completing the process. I can say undoubtedly that we have consensus on the way forward, and we are moving as fast as we possibly can,” Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Colin Fagan, has said.

The State Minister was addressing a Community Development Committee (CDC) conference, at the Calvary Baptist Church Hall, in Montego Bay, on October 16. It was staged by the Social Development Commission (SDC), in partnership with the National Integrity Action (NIA) and the National Association of Parish Development Committees (NAPDEC).

Mr. Fagan pointed out that last year the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, along with the Ministries of Justice and Finance, made an effort to fast-track the inclusion of Local Government into the nation’s Constitution.

“The draft Bills have been reviewed and the Minister of Justice and the Chief Parliamentary Counsel are working to have the Bills finalised,” he pointed out.

He noted that the proposed Local Government Act is being created by consolidating several existing laws, and is set to introduce several new concepts,  which better reflect a modern approach to local governance, and should strengthen local self management, making local authorities autonomous and responsive to the citizenry.

He emphasised that the new Act is an important piece of legislation that will facilitate additional means of driving economic development, adding that proper local governance is the pathway to economic development, both at the local and national levels.

Coming out of the conference, the over 180 participants present signed a petition to be presented to Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, to request the Government to speed up passing the Act.

This was the second in the series of 12 conferences to be held island wide. The first was held in Manchester. The third is slated to be held in Lucea, Hanover.