Parish Councillors Urged Not to Take Constituents for Granted

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is cautioning fellow politicians not to take their constituents for granted, pointing out that the consequences can be swift and severe.
  • “There are many of us when we get into the position, we take it for granted. We take it for granted that it is our God-given right and that nobody can take that away from us. It is as if we are the ones who will determine how long we will stay in the position. Well, it is the people who will decide our fate,” the Minister said.
  • The Minister said he is urging councillors to think “country first and party second” and to resist the urge to serve “loyalists only”.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, is cautioning fellow politicians not to take their constituents for granted, pointing out that the consequences can be swift and severe.

The Minister, who was speaking at a special sensitisation session with councillors and mayors at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St. James, on December 12, added that elected officials should be mindful that the electorate has become a lot more sophisticated and has very little patience for non-performers.

“There are many of us when we get into the position, we take it for granted. We take it for granted that it is our God-given right and that nobody can take that away from us. It is as if we are the ones who will determine how long we will stay in the position. Well, it is the people who will decide our fate,” the Minister said.

He further noted that newly elected councillors have come into the system at a time when Local Government is under the microscope and facing questions relating to its relevance.

“What we do is going to determine whether or not those who continue to be skeptical of us are indeed justified in doing so. We have an obligation to change the perception of the business-as-usual approach and that we are not there to serve the people,” he said.

Mr. McKenzie told the councillors that they should also be mindful that the Local Government elections are over and that the time for partisan politics is over.

“We are representatives of all the people. We are councillors representing a particular geographical division and that is something we have to understand,” he emphasised.

The Minister said he is urging councillors to think “country first and party second” and to resist the urge to serve “loyalists only”.

He suggested that councillors look at the way the parish councils are being run and see how best they can contribute to making things better.

“We have to make better use of the resources that are available to us. The manner in which funds are used do leave something to be desired and we have to become better managers,” the Minister added.

Mr. McKenzie said the amount of land owned by parish councils around the country should put them in good stead, where they can have more resources at their disposal, making themselves more self-sufficient.

“There is a lot of money out there to be collected. The parish councils have to exercise a lot more independence and the councillors must be better representatives of the people,” he said.

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