JIS News

Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller yesterday (March 9) signed two contracts for the implementation of an Institutional Strengthening Training project in local authorities.
The project which will see the provision of training in business writing and planning and conducting meetings, it is a component of the Parish Infrastructure Development Programme (PIDP). The PIDP is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the government of Jamaica.
The original loan commitment of US$50 million from the IDB to the PIDP has been re-scoped to US$31.3 million and the programme has been extended to September 2006, under the condition that uncommitted resources should apply to the implementation of policy reform at the national level, institutional strengthening at the ministry level and capacity building at the local level.
Speaking at the contract signing, which was held at the Ministry, Mrs. Simpson Miller said that the investment in the training of human capital in local authorities such as mayors, secretary/managers and committee chairpersons, was very relevant at this time.
She explained that, the Local Government Reform Programme embraced capacity building and under the PIDP, it would be necessary to have all the practitioners well-trained. “Strengthening the ability of the local authorities to deliver more effectively and efficiently to the people and communities they serve will deepen the democratic process,” she stated.
Mrs. Simpson Miller also lauded the focus on institutional strengthening, noting that people needed to be prepared to take charge of their communities. “If we can empower the people at the community level, then some of the challenges facing us as a nation, such as crime and violence, will be much less and some measure of success can be reaped,” she reasoned.
She said that under the reform process, partnership would be sought to spread the training programme to other areas and leaders in communities.
In his remarks, Deputy Representative of the IDB, Oscar Spencer, noted that by contributing to the PIDP, the IDB was supporting the Local Government Reform process as it lends itself to greater autonomy and improvement of service.
Mr. Spencer wished the PIDP every success as it continued to assist the local authorities to improve their capacity to deliver better service.
The training programme is a consequence of a series of consultations between the local authorities and the Ministry and will be administered by the Capacity Building Unit of the PIDP. Pre-requisite training activities commenced during the period October to December 2004 and to date, 29 persons have been certified as Level One trainers.
The PIDP is designed to improve the capacity of the local authorities, to deliver basic services and maintain the parish infrastructure in a sustainable manner, within the context of the government’s Local Government Reform Programme.
The Management Institute for National Development (MIND) and the University College of the Caribbean (UCC) will conduct the business writing and planning and conducting meetings, training programmes, respectively.

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