No honeymoon for coun­cil­lors – McKen­zie

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ed­mond Camp­bell Se­nior Staff Re­porter ed­mond.camp­bell@glean­erjm.com

MIN­IS­TER OF Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Des­mond McKen­zie says he ex­pects the new slate of may­ors to hit the ground run­ning af­ter they are sworn into of­fice on De­cem­ber 8.

In a press re­lease yes­ter­day, McKen­zie ad­vised that all 228 coun­cil­lors, along with mayor of Port­more, should take their places next week Thurs­day, at the first statu­tory meet­ing of their re­spec­tive mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions.

With some mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions putting plans in place to hold swearingin cer­e­monies this Fri­day, the min­istry has said that some re­turn­ing of­fi­cers have in­di­cated that the fi­nal count of bal­lots in the elec­toral di­vi­sions will not be com­pleted in time to fa­cil­i­tate this.

In a Gleaner in­ter­view yes­ter­day, McKen­zie said he ex­pected the new may­ors to adapt as quickly as pos­si­ble and ex­e­cute their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties on the job. He said most of the per­sons ex­pected to be ap­pointed may­ors are sea­soned coun­cil­lors, and, there­fore, it is im­por­tant that they take on lo­cal gov­er­nance is­sues im­me­di­ately be­cause there is a lot of work to be done.

“My ex­pec­ta­tion is high and, as some­one who had been in that po­si­tion be­fore, I know what is re­quired of them,” said McKen­zie.

He said the co­op­er­a­tion of everyone in the cor­po­ra­tions, not only at the po­lit­i­cal but also ad­min­is­tra­tive lev­els, was needed, be­cause while the may­ors and coun­cil­lors craft poli­cies, it is the tech­nocrats who ex­e­cute them.

SEN­SI­TI­SA­TION EX­ER­CISES

The lo­cal gov­ern­ment min­is­ter said his min­istry would be car­ry­ing out train­ing and sen­si­ti­sa­tion pro­grammes for elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff. “They have to know what their core func­tions are and that is why we are go­ing to be hav­ing a se­ries of sen­si­ti­sa­tion ex­er­cises that will in­clude all the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions, in­clud­ing the Port­more mu­nic­i­pal­ity.” Mean­while, when the new coun­cil­lors are sworn in, the Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party will only be able to name four may­ors for Savanna-la-Mar, Man­dev­ille, Hanover and St Catherine, with the fifth, Leon Thomas, elected by the peo­ple of Port­more in St Catherine.

This is in stark con­trast to what ob­tained prior to November 28, when the PNP had 14 may­ors di­rect­ing the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Port­more.

For­mer mayor of Mon­tego Bay, Glen­don Har­ris, has been sent into the po­lit­i­cal wilder­ness af­ter los­ing the Ma­roon Town di­vi­sion by 81 votes to the JLP’s Everes Coke. Des­mond Gil­more, the for­mer mayor of St Ann’s Bay, has also been sent pack­ing by the JLP’s Genevor Gor­don-Bai­ley, who won the Lime Hall di­vi­sion by 331 votes.

MCKEN­ZIE

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