PROMISING young leaders from the 14 municipal corporations participated in the Local Government & Community Month 2023 Youth Mayors' Forum, staged at the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel in Runaway Bay, St Ann, on November 16.
The event served as a platform for youth mayors to showcase their respective initiatives, aimed at improving their parishes.
Addressing the assembly, Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie, emphasised the crucial role of local government in nurturing future political leaders.
He encouraged the youth mayors to view their roles as "stepping stones" into the complex world of politics.
"Local government is the stable for producing outstanding political leaders," said McKenzie.
"I want to encourage you, because a lot of people feel that if you're going into politics, you must walk in and become a Member of Parliament. While it is good to have ambition, it is also good to experience what it is all about by being a [local government] councillor," he added.
He urged the youth to recognise the importance of gaining experience as a councillor before pursuing higher political ambitions, citing the challenges of the role as well as the responsibilities that lead to good governance.
In the meantime, McKenzie acknowledged the efforts of the youth mayors on the high quality and excellence exhibited during their presentations. He noted the continuous improvement in the forum's quality since its initiation in 2016.
"As I listened to all of your presentations they were of high quality, well put together, and most importantly, they were excellently delivered, and I must commend you," the minister said.
He expressed gratitude for the youth leaders' participation and challenged them to ensure the successful execution of their projects, with each receiving $1 million. He urged them to remain engaged with politics even after their term has ended.
Their initiatives ranged from the renovation of football fields, bus stops and infirmaries to catering to the mentally ill.