JIS News

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, with Responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague, has said that the Government is in the process of more clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of Parish Councils.
This will make them more effective in managing the local affairs of citizens, he said.
“The draft constitution amendments have been completed and the basic legal framework for Local Government are being established and presently we are far advanced in the drafting of the new Local Authority’s Act which will see some 17 pieces of legislation being repealed and rolled into one Act, as there is a lot of confusion and anomolies within those 17 bits of legislation . so we can move on to defining roles and responsibilities of local authorities as well as that of Councillors,” Mr. Montague told participants in the meeting.
He was addressing members of the St. James Parish Council’s Disaster Preparedness Committee at the Council’s chamber in Montego Bay yesterday (July 15) during a special visit to that parish.
He noted that there was still confusion as to the roles of those called to serve. “When you reform local government in that way and define its role and responsibility . you also define central government and their role and responsibility so that the public will no longer be confused as to who is in charge of what and who has the mandate to do what,” the Minister of State pointed out.
He was responding to questions raised by the Council on Local Government Reform which has been under review by successive government.
“The matter of the entrenchment of local government in the Constitution has always been a ticklish issue. Notwithstanding we are doing some things based on the recommendations contained in the National Advisory Council Report. The recommendations were derived after a series of island wide consultations which were also subjected to a Joint Select Parliamentary Committee review,” the State Minister said.
He was later accompanied by the Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Charles Sinclair, and other representatives from the Parish Council on a tour of the Montego Bay Craft Market, the St. James Infirmary and other areas of responsibilities of the St. James Parish Council.

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