JIS News

Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson Miller has said that the Government’s expenditure on national security could be drastically decreased if communities across Jamaica were better organized and mobilized.
Expanding on her point, Minister Simpson Miller said that if people in the communities developed an appreciation of the importance of “community spirit” and learned to understand their collective role in being accountable and responsible citizens, “we would not need to spend so much money on national security.”
“Rediscovering this community is about bringing together political representatives, social and economic planners, and representatives of civil society, physical planners and service providers, to take practical steps to improve the living standard of every Jamaican citizen,” she added.
The Minister was speaking with community groups from the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas and St. Catherine at a regional consultation held at the Jamaica Conference Centre on March 4.
The consultation was the second of four sessions being held across the island to facilitate feedback from citizens on issues such as community development, local government reform and community sports development.
The first was held on Wednesday, March 3 at the Kendal Conference Centre in Mandeville with community representatives from Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth.
Addressing the scores of persons who were representing their communities the Minister expressed the view that, “strong communities will lead to a strong nation and strong parishes will lead to a strong nation.”
She explained that the Government initiated the Local Government Reform Programme to “create and establish a new framework of governance for the management of the modern Jamaican society.”
She said the reform process was intended to empower citizens and communities to take responsibility for the management of their economic, health, educational, cultural and recreational needs.
The next consultation session is scheduled to take place at the Jamaica Grande Hotel in St. Ann on March 18 with community groups being invited from the parishes of Portland, St. Mary and St. Ann, while the final consultation will take place on March 24 at the Holiday Inn in St. James with participation from community groups hailing from Trelawny, St. James and Westmoreland. Both sessions will begin at 10:00 a.m.