KINGSTON — Minister of State with Responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Shahine Robinson, says there is need for strong and dynamic leadership in the local authorities, as the issue of governance would impact on the Councils’ finances and administrative processes.
She was addressing members of the Westmoreland Parish Council at the opening session of their Financial Management Retreat, at the Riu Hotel, Montego Bay, Friday July 15.
The retreat is being held July 15-16, under the theme “Strategies to achieve self-financing goals”.
Minister Robinson congratulated the Council on its foresight in convening the retreat, despite the challenges of its financial resources.
“I note that your theme is one that has major implications for the survival of your Council, in the face of the global economic downturn from which some economies, such as ours, are only just emerging”, she stated.
She noted that it was the leadership’s privilege to model the belief that they could surmount challenges and inspire a better tomorrow. She assured that the Government was prepared to lead from the front, by encouraging the unmistaken view that it cannot be business as usual.
The State Minister told members of the Council that they had a golden opportunity to improve their revenue base a task which, even if it appears impossible, is achievable.
“We must remain unswerving in our determination to meet hard times with an even harder will,” Mrs. Robinson urged.
Former Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government Reform and newly appointed Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Robert Montague, congratulated the Council for its innovativeness in organizing the retreat. He said that if the Council is to meet its financial objectives, all regulations and by-laws must be reviewed.
“Let us maximize those that we know and have been using, so as to become financially able to meet all monetary obligations and objectives,” he said.
Under the Local Government Reform programme, Local Authorities have been mandated to provide 30 per cent of their funding from ‘own source’ revenues. Consequently, the Westmoreland Parish Council decided to convene the workshop to focus on strategies to realize that goal.
By GLENIS ROSE, JIS Reporter