Vote out non-per­form­ing coun­cil­lors – McKen­zie

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Clau­dia Gard­ner As­sign­ment Co­or­di­na­tor

WEST­ERN BUREAU: MIN­IS­TER OF Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Des­mond McKen­zie is urg­ing res­i­dents in west­ern Ja­maica to re­move non-per­form­ing coun­cil­lors, re­gard­less of party af­fil­i­a­tion, in the im­mi­nent elec­tion.

McKen­zie was ad­dress­ing the na­tional church ser­vice to mark Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­nity Month at Lucea United Church in Hanover yes­ter­day.

“I want to use the op­por­tu­nity here to say to you this morn­ing: We are your ser­vants; we are here to serve you and no­body in here this morn­ing should feel that you don’t have a re­course when we fail to per­form,” he said.

“You have a right that in many coun­tries that right is de­nied be­cause of the sys­tem of gov­ern­ment that they prac­tise.”

McKen­zie added: “Here in our coun­try, you have a right when I fail as the min­is­ter, or Mayor (Ber­tel) Moore fails, or Sen­a­tor (Charles) Sin­clair fails – you have a God-given right – the right to vote, the right to ex­er­cise that demo­cratic right, to refuse those of us who fail in our re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Moore is mayor of Sa­vanna-la-Mar and coun­cil­lor for the Ne­gril divi­sion, while Sin­clair is coun­cil­lor for the Flanker divi­sion in St James and a mem­ber of the Se­nate.

“I chal­lenge the con­gre­ga­tion this morn­ing to use that veto power – to use it in a way that none of us will ever for­get that you are the ones that hold the bal­ance of power ... . If you don’t elect us, we can’t be elected; this is not a to­tal­i­tar­ian sys­tem where we im­pose our­selves on you,” McKen­zie added.

DEEP RE­FLEC­TION

The min­is­ter said res­i­dents should do some deep re­flec­tion ahead of the lo­cal gov­ern­ment polls and vote in the in­ter­est of their com­mu­ni­ties, and based on the track record of those putting them­selves for­ward as can­di­dates.

“And, what you are vot­ing for, what you are sup­port­ing, is ser­vice, not party, not in­di­vid­u­als. I urge you, as we be­gin to com­mem­o­rate Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Month, ask your­selves: Are you get­ting the ser­vice that you de­serve from the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties? Are you aware of what it is the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have re­spon­si­bil­ity for? Are you see­ing your lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives? Is the mayor re­spon­sive to your com­plaints? Is Sen­a­tor Sin­clair liv­ing up to his re­spon­si­bil­ity? When you ask your­selves those fun­da­men­tal and far-reach­ing questions, then you can make that de­ter­mi­na­tion,” McKen­zie said.

“En­sure you be­come par­tic­i­pants in the demo­cratic process of our coun­try,” he said.

PHOTO BY CLAU­DIA GARD­NER

The Rev­erend Glen­roy Clarke rests his hand on Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Des­mond McKen­zie’s head as he prays for him dur­ing the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Com­mu­nity Month na­tional church ser­vice at Lucea United Church in Hanover.

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