The Constitution (Amendment) (Local Government) Bill, 2014, has just been passed by the House of Representatives (May 12). The Bill, which must now be considered by the Senate for approval, seeks to insert provisions for the system of Local Government into the Constitution of Jamaica.
The Bill defines the purposes of Local Government, which include encouraging and assisting the effective participation of local communities in local government, and giving Local Authorities the ability to provide local public services, facilities and any related activities to the benefit of local communities and the wider public. Local Authorities will also be empowered to carry out regulatory functions as allowed by law.
The Bill also establishes the power of Parliament to pass laws that will allow Local Authorities to generate and spend their own revenue. Parliament is also given the authority to assign functions between the various levels of government and to determine how Local Authorities are constituted and their functions defined. Parliament will also have the power to determine the holding of Local Government elections among other things.