Keep your promises, McKenzie tells St James councillors

Keep your promises, McKenzie tells St James councillors

BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 09, 2016

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MONTEGO BAY, St James – Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie has challenged the newly elected councillors of the St James Municipal Corporation to ensure that they deliver on promises made during the run-up to the November 28 Local Government Elections.


"My message this afternoon is about serving the people who went out and elect you. The real work is to deliver on the commitments that were made to the people," McKenzie told the elected representatives during yesterday’s swearing-in ceremony held at the Montego Bay Cultural Centre in St James.


He stressed that there should be no excuse for non-performing councillors, adding that "resources are not an issue for the municipal corporations across the island".


McKenzie argued that over the last four years, a number of excuses were given for inefficiencies and non-performance at some of the corporations.


Emphasisng that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Administration is serious about local governance, McKenzie said he is willing to work with the various corporations, in an effort to improve the lives of citizens.


In the case of St James, the local government and community development minister listed a raft of social ills which, he said, his ministry is willing to partner with the St James Municipal Corporation in addressing.


These include improving the living conditions at the St James Infirmary; making housing grants available for the indigent; improving the conditions under which vendors operate; and addressing traffic congestion in the resort city of Montego Bay.


McKenzie also stressed the need for better working relationships between councillors and their members of parliament (MPs).


"We have some MPs who see councillors as a threat to their existence, and we want to put an end to that, because both layers of government have to work so that efficiency becomes the number one objective," he argued.


He added that plans are also being finalised for the construction of the long-awaited building to house the St James Fire Department. Work on the building, he said, will begin next year.


Meanwhile, Councillor Homer Davis (JLP, Cambridge Division) was elected to serve as the new mayor of the resort city of Montego Bay during the ceremony.


Davis, who has been the representative for the division since 2008, replaces the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Glendon Harris as mayor. Harris lost his bid to retain the Maroon Town Division.


Davis, who is also a deputy general secretary of the ruling JLP, will have Councillor Leeroy Williams (JLP, Glendevon Division), as his deputy.


In last week’s Local Government Elections, the JLP won 13 of the 17 divisions up for grabs in the parish.


In his acceptance speech yesterday, Davis told the gathering that during his tenure in office he plans to improve the aesthetics of Montego Bay; work with the police in an effort to reduce the city’s worrying crime problem; improve conditions at the Charles Gordon Market; conclude the long-awaited sale of the Bogue Lands; improve the conditions under which vendors ply their trade; increase the number of municipal police; and repair the scores of defective street lamps across the city.


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