The Senate has approved the Constitution (Local Government) (Amendment) Bill, which, when brought into force, will place the system of Local Government in the Constitution of Jamaica. The Bill seeks to insert provisions for the system of Local Government into the Constitution of Jamaica, and is a critical part of the Local Government Reform agenda.
The Bill, which was originally tabled in the Lower House on September 30, 2014, was piloted in the House of Representatives by Local Government and Community Development Minister Noel Arscott in January 2015, and passed by the House on May 12.
The legislation 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.