CONTRIBUTION TO THE SECTORAL DEBATE
Hon. Desmond Anthony Augustus McKenzie
Minister of Local Government & Community Development
June 22, 2016
Mr. Speaker, let me state categorically, that we are on a mission to transform local government to the benefit of the public, and nothing else.
Emerging from the recently published findings surrounding the Hanover Parish Council in particular, I have taken note of opinions by some commentators that the Local Authorities, generally speaking, should be shut down.
That is not the policy of this Administration. I am a son of Local Government. I have served as Councillor and Mayor, and I know first-hand, the positive impact that good representation can have on people’s lives at the community level.
Local Government touches lives in a real way, every day, whether it is well or badly run. I will use my talents, experience, and the collective talents of the partners within Jamaica and internationally, to make local government an efficient, accountable organ of service to every Jamaican.
Let me admit however, that the image of Local Government and that of the Local Authorities in particular, has been shaken and battered by the very serious revelations in the Special Reports of the Contractor-General, which have been tabled in this Honourable House.
The public is aware of the actions I have taken in relation to the Hanover Parish Council. They are a clear signal, Mr. Speaker, that this Administration, and this Minister, will not stand aside and allow breaches of the public trust to occur, under the banner of “autonomy”.
The Local Authorities are accountable to the Minister under law, and I intend to lift the standard of accountability and of service that they are to provide.