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The St. James Parish Council is to embark on a series of community empowerment fora in the 17 Parish Council Divisions, with the first to be held on Thursday, March 28, at the John’s Hall All Age School in Springmount.

Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris, who made the announcement on March 27, while addressing a Social Development Commission (SDC) parish forum in Montego Bay, said the meetings are geared at informing citizens about ways to participate in the local governance process and “bringing the agencies of Government to the people”.

“The people must know who are in charge of the agencies that serve their communities, they must be aware of our actions, and they must have a say in how we approach situations. We will answer to the people we serve,” he emphasized.

Mr. Harris said the Parish Council has never ceased interacting with communities, and “we have always facilitated the coming together of people and those charged with delivering services to their communities.”

He explained that meaningful solutions to community challenges exist, and can emanate from the SDC parish fora, as when communities share their experiences, other areas facing similar difficulties can be informed on ways to move ahead.

Meanwhile, the Mayor pointed out that the Parish Council has opened another avenue for interaction and information sharing with its representatives and the citizens on the first Monday of each month at the Montego Bay Civic Centre.

“We have introduced a Mayor in Parlour session, on the first Monday of each month. I sit at the Civic Centre from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., where persons can come and speak with the Mayor and other representatives of the Parish Council on whatever recommendations or problems that they might have,” Mr. Harris said.

By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter