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Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, has emphasised that senior level representatives from agencies and departments must attend Parish Council meetings, whenever they are required to do so.
Mr. Montague, who has responsibility for Local Government Reform, said this directive has been issued by Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding.
He was addressing the Manchester Parish Council on June 23, as part of a series of visits to Parish Councils across the island.
“This is a matter that I raised with the Prime Minister and he penned a letter to all Government agencies and departments and Ministers, that whenever they are required at a Council meeting, senior level representation must be sent to the Council meeting,” the State Minister said.
He said that some entities send a different representative each month to the meeting without prior consultation with the representative that was sent the previous month, hence the current one is unable to adequately address matters raised.
“The Prime Minister’s letter said that they should name a senior representative who is the person responsible for Parish Council affairs, and if they do not come to Council meetings for three months, he wants to know,” Mr. Montague said.
He emphasised that the Parish Councils need to be more assertive of their authority in that regard.
Mr. Montague said that entities such as the National Water Commission, National Works Agency and the Jamaica Public Service need to work with the Parish Council’s Planning Committee, since the committee is responsible for co-ordinating planning and development activities in the parish. He added that a forum should be held whenever there are plans by one of the parties to carry out infrastructural work.
He pointed out that following the forum between the Parish Council and the various entities, a meeting should be held with the affected communities to update them about the plans.