Fast-track local gov't reforms
Government Senator demands deadlines for 18-year-old plan
BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS Sunday Observer senior reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
THE Ministry of Local Government might be called upon to fast-track initiatives geared towards local government reform and further present its work plan for this parliamentary year to the Upper House if a resolution brought by Government Senator Wensworth Skeffery is carried.
The Senator said his call came in light of measures geared towards local government reform that were formally mooted some 18 years ago, and a number of ambitious objectives laid down since.
"Be it resolved that this Senate call upon the Ministry to fast-track the initiatives for the actualisation of the objectives in order to give real autonomy, self-determination and independence to the people of Jamaica in their communities," Skeffery said.
"Be it further resolved that the Ministry be asked to present to this Honourable Senate a design of its Local Government Reform Agenda and a schedule of its programme to achieve the above-mentioned objectives during this parliamentary year," he added.
The reform agenda includes, among other things, a proposal for the entrenchment of local government in the Constitution of Jamaica; recognition of local government as a separate sphere of government; the strengthening of community-based organisations; strengthening accountability, transparency and probity in the Local Authorities and encouraging the establishment of municipalities among other things.
Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Noel Arscott in February this year said the local government reform process should move into the implementation stage soon.
"Our commitment to local government is unquestionable, and we are here to ensure that we advance the process. We are doing a series of consultations, and we intend to carry the process further than it has ever been," he said then.
The Resolution is to be debated at a later sitting.