JIS News

Twenty-six students from educational institutions across St. Elizabeth recently participated in the staging of the Parish Council’s ‘Junior Council’ meeting.
The event, which was held at the offices of the St. Elizabeth Parish Council was held as part of the Council’s scheduled activities in observance of November as Local Government Month.
His Worship the Mayor of Black River, Jeremy Palmer in congratulating the students on their participation in the staging of the exercise said, “It is significant that young citizens take a lively interest in how their country is governed and also the parish in a micro way. The fact is that too many Jamaicans are not concerned about the mechanism, the methods, and the principles upon which a country should be governed, and also to take an interest in how things are happening and understand the issues that are involved.”
He added that that the level of participation displayed by the students indicated a high level of preparation and knowledge about what their roles and functions would be if they were in that position in a real life scenario.
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government Reform, Robert Montague in his address read by Noel Forbes Motherson from Munroe College in his capacity as Junior Mayor, said that the theme for Local Government Month, ‘Local Government Reform Putting Governance Into Your Hands’, places emphasis on the principle of citizen participation and accountability.
He said that citizens participation is critical to the attainment of good governance and that, “to achieve our goals of putting governance into the hands of the people, citizens need to be empowered to participate in the democratic process. We want to involve the participation of every citizen and especially marginalized persons and those who feel that they have nothing to contribute”.
Mr. Montague added that to achieve optimum participation by citizens, there must be a focus on public education, and as such, this aspect of the reform process is in an advance stage as numerous publications have been produced and distributed across the island. He said that the parish consultations will be continuous and that many opportunities for public education will be presented.
The junior council exercise ended with students being presented with tokens from some Councillors from the division which they had represented.
The Daphne Holmes Trophy for the most outstanding presenter was awarded to Devaraine Rowe, ‘Junior Councillor’ for the Southfield Division.
The participating schools were: Munroe College, B. B. Coke High, Ballards Valley Primary, Mountainside Primary, Brompton Primary, Lacovia High, Maggotty High, Balaclava High, St. Elizabeth Technical High, Sydney Pagon Agricultural, Newell High, Nain Primary and Junior High, Lewisville High, and Black River High.
The parish’s 14 Council divisions are: Malvern, Junction, Southfield, Mountainside, Brompton, Lacovia, Ipswich, Balaclava, Santa Cruz, Braes River, Pedro Plains, Myerville, New Market, and Black River.

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