Dust off lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form so­lu­tions

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - DER­RICK D. SI­MON Camp David Golden Spring, St An­drew der­rickd­si­mon@ya­hoo.com

CON­SUL­TANT KEITH Miller’s work and rec­om­men­da­tions would go a far way in solv­ing the malaise now af­fect­ing the lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form process were his work coun­te­nanced.

I am con­vinced of the wide-rang­ing man­date and terms of ref­er­ence he was given, in­clud­ing is­sues of fund­ing, le­gal frame­work, gov­er­nance struc­tures, and, most im­por­tant, com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tion in de­ci­sion-mak­ing and funds-al­lo­ca­tion pro­cesses at the lo­cal level.

Why does it ap­pear that every­body has cow­ered at the prospect of im­ple­ment­ing his far­reach­ing re­search work? Un­der the Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion Act, pub­lish it now!

It can­not be that the fur­thest we can go as a cen­tral plank of com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tion on the var­i­ous par­ish coun­cils is only lobby, beg, and grovel at the be­hest of the So­cial De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion-pro­moted Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Coun­cils, and De­vel­op­ment Area Com­mit­tee, and the like, as good as those are sup­posed to be.

Make no mis­take, Ja­maicans, it is go­ing to take both po­lit­i­cal will and peo­ple fervour if ever we are go­ing to see a le­gal frame­work that will bring about the kind of bal­ance of power where or­di­nary com­mu­nity peo­ple get a seat on par­ish coun­cil boards, com­mit­tees, and trusts.

How in­su­lated and sep­a­rated is money raised in the forms of prop­erty tax and traf­fic tick­ets, with which ef­fec­tive plan­ning and ju­di­cious man­age­ment could boost road in­fra­struc­ture, in­stead of be­ing chan­nelled into the Con­sol­i­dated Fund, which Gov­ern­ment can use to what­ever end it sees fit?

Imani Dun­can-Price, in her failed quest to rep­re­sent East Ru­ral St An­drew, re­cently said that Mavis Bank in the con­stituency was lo­cated on a fault line and, there­fore, roads needed good sub­sur­face com­paction with

im­per­me­able over­lay of ma­te­rial of minute par­ti­cle size to with­stand wa­ter ero­sion. I am con­vinced that ev­ery par­ish coun­cil­lor through­out Ja­maica knows this, but they all do oth­er­wise.


At the very heart of lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form is the mantra of cit­i­zens in part­ner­ship with Gov­ern­ment at the lo­cal level. Yet Stock­farm Road in West Ru­ral St An­drew is a re­flec­tion of what re­mains af­ter a vol­cano erupts, or Hiroshima in Ja­pan.

The res­i­dents have spent hun­dreds of thou­sands

At the very heart of lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form is the mantra of cit­i­zens in part­ner­ship with Gov­ern­ment at the lo­cal level

of dol­lars in re­pair works and yet nei­ther Coun­cil­lor Tosha Sch­wapp nor Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Juliet Cuth­bert-Flynn has up to now recog­nised our road­work by adding or im­prov­ing on it since our last work­day less than a year ago.

Lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form is over­due. Bring it on be­fore Novem­ber 28!

Juliet Cuth­bert-Flynn

Tosha Sch­wapp

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