To­gether we can de­velop our com­mu­ni­ties

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT -

LO­CAL GOVERN­MENT and Com­mu­nity Month is a time in which we tra­di­tion­ally re­flect on our achieve­ments as a min­istry, and look for­ward to im­ple­ment­ing poli­cies and pro­grammes for the up­com­ing year.

This year, our spe­cial month of ac­tiv­i­ties is be­ing ob­served un­der the theme, ‘Re­build­ing Civic Pride in Your Com­mu­nity and Mine’. This theme re­flects the min­istry’s ef­forts over the past few months, as the lead or­gan of Govern­ment in the Na­tional Clean-Up Pro­gramme, to change the face of Ja­maica through, ul­ti­mately, im­proved pub­lic at­ti­tudes. Im­por­tantly, it also places great em­pha­sis on the need for so­cial agree­ment and co­he­sion to en­sure the clean­li­ness and beau­ti­fi­ca­tion of phys­i­cal spa­ces and the preven­tion of dis­ease, which are crit­i­cal com­po­nents of the com­mu­nity devel­op­ment side of our min­istry’s port­fo­lio.

As some­one who has served in the sys­tem of lo­cal govern­ment for nearly 35 years, it goes with­out say­ing that the role not only of the min­istry and agen­cies, but also of the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, is es­pe­cially im­por­tant to the achieve­ment of com­mu­nity and na­tional ob­jec­tives.

We have started the process of as­sess­ing the phys­i­cal spa­ces from which our mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils are ex­pected to de­liver pub­lic ser­vices, and we will also be plac­ing a strong em­pha­sis on the de­liv­ery of train­ing to both non-elected and elected of­fi­cials, to en­sure un­der­stand­ing of, and com­pli­ance with, con­tem­po­rary ser­vice and le­gal stan­dards. In this way, the sys­tem of lo­cal govern­ment will be bet­ter able, as a reg­u­la­tor and fa­cil­i­ta­tor of eco­nomic and so­cial ac­tiv­ity in ev­ery parish, to achieve its tremen­dous po­ten­tial to be the heart­beat of so­cial re­newal, eco­nomic ex­pan­sion and devel­op­ment. Lo­cal govern­ment is in­ter­wo­ven into ev­ery as­pect of our lives, and in­deed, is vir­tu­ally in­sep­a­ra­ble from our ex­is­tence. From the roads in our com­mu­ni­ties to the reg­u­la­tion of ad­ver­tis­ing in pub­lic spa­ces to the ap­proval and reg­u­la­tion of ev­ery type of con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity, large and small, lo­cal govern­ment af­fects us all. We recog­nise that there is much to be done to el­e­vate the prac­tice of lo­cal govern­ment to the sat­is­fac­tion of all our cit­i­zens and our in­ter­na­tional part­ners. We are work­ing to in­fuse trans­for­ma­tion into the daily ex­pe­ri­ence of lo­cal govern­ment, to make it a more re­spon­sive and so­phis­ti­cated driver of com­mu­nity, parish and na­tional ob­jec­tives. Even as we do this, I must pay tribute to the men and women who serve the sys­tem of lo­cal govern­ment to­day in the cen­tral min­istry, in the agen­cies and in the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils. The cir­cum­stances in which you serve are not the eas­i­est, but you con­tinue to sol­dier on, and to be the es­sen­tial hu­man links be­tween the Govern­ment of Ja­maica and the peo­ple it is elected to serve. I am grate­ful to you now, through­out this spe­cial month and be­yond. I urge each of you to be of good courage, as we con­front the chal­lenges of pub­lic ser­vice to­gether. DES­MOND MCKEN­ZIE CD, MP, JP Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Govern­ment and Com­mu­nity Devel­op­ment Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness (left) and Des­mond McKen­zie re­move bulky waste on the west cen­tral St An­drew leg of the Na­tional Clean-up Pro­gramme. #Re­build­ing­civicpride

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