Together we can develop our communities
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