JIS News

The St. Catherine Parish Council is to stage a series of community meetings to heighten awareness and educate residents about the Local Government Reform process.
Speaking with JIS News, Secretary Manager of the Council, Christopher Powell, said the meetings are to be staged over four Wednesdays, in Linstead, Old Harbour, Spanish Town, and Portmore
“We’ll be discussing Local Government Reform, governance and the involvement of citizens, and try to educate them on the whole issue of Property Tax and other areas of service that the Council offers,” he told JIS News.
Local Government Reform was initiated with the aim of increasing the capacity of the Local Authorities to carry out their functions with less reliance on Central Government. This was motivated by the desire to establish mechanisms to enhance the delivery of services and to respond to the needs of citizens, more effectively.
As a result of the reform process, Parish Councils are being given greater allocation of funding, a wider mandate, and greater levels of control over their affairs.
The process has also provided the Councils and Local Authorities with additional resources, in terms of personnel. It has made changes to laws to enable them to be more effective in managing services for which they are responsible.
Mr. Powell said that the Councils believe in the reform process, as it establishes a sense of inclusion for citizens.
“We believe in the whole issue of transparency and accountability, and we feel that the decision making process must come from the bottom,” he said.
“We’re here in Spanish Town, and I don’t think we can make decisions for everybody in the parish who live in the rural communities, and we want them to be a part of any decision that is going to be made. It is part of the whole issue of governance, educating people about their rights and the roles we want them to play in the development of the parish,” he told JIS News.

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