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Executive Director, Social Development Commission (SDC), Dr. Dwayne Vernon, has cited the need for a partnership involving “an accountable and transparent political mechanism and empowered and responsible civil society stakeholders”, in order for Jamaica to achieve good and effective governance.

Speaking at the second SDC Parish/Town Hall Meeting, in May Pen, Clarendon, recently, Dr. Vernon noted that in a number of countries, globally, many citizens are making greater demands of leaders. These demands, he said, include the right to be involved in the decision making processes affecting their lives.

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“It is essential that our leaders embrace this tenet. We need an unwavering commitment to encourage the nation, motivate persons, (and) in essence, assert integrity of purpose and an imaginative vision,” he argued,

Dr. Vernon was, however, quick to point to the complementary role the residents must play, in this regard, noting that “as citizens, we too have a tremendous obligation to ourselves, our children, our families, our communities, and to our country; the leaders cannot do it alone."

“Therefore…there has to be a mechanism, a structure or process, if you will, that creates the avenue for such interaction between the state and the people,” he contended.

The May Pen Parish/Town Hall meeting was one in a series of islandwide fora, being jointly staged by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, and the SDC under the theme: ‘Government and Governance’.

They are aimed at providing Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and other members of the Cabinet and Government, with the opportunity to engage the public, in discussions, on a range of topical issues.

Government agencies also provide updates on programmes and initiatives, specific to the local and parish levels.