RUNAWAY BAY, St. Ann: Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, has committed J$1 million each to the 14 Junior Councils to undertake their group projects during their one-year term.
The Minister hosted the new cohort of Youth Mayors, representing the respective Municipal Corporations and the Municipality of Portmore, at a forum in Runaway Bay, St. Ann on November 16.
The Youth Mayor presented their proposed group projects and their impact on their communities. The initiatives ranged from the provision of water tanks to schools as well as the renovation of football fields, bus stops and infirmaries to catering to the mentally ill.
“As I listened to all of your presentations they were of high quality, well put together, and most importantly, they were excellently delivered, and I must commend you,” stated Minister McKenzie.
“Local Government is the stable for producing outstanding political leaders.”
He used the Youth Mayors’ Forum to highlight the role of local government in nurturing future political leaders, as he encouraged the young leaders to view their roles as “stepping stones” into the complex world of politics.
“I want to encourage you, because a lot of people feel that if you’re going into politics, you must walk in and become a Member of Parliament. While it is good to have ambition, it is also good to experience what it is all about by being a [Local Government] Councillor,” the Minister added.
He urged the Youth Mayors to recognise the importance of gaining experience as a parochial representative (Councillor) before pursuing higher political ambitions, as he alluded to the challenges and the responsibilities of the role.
Minister McKenzie also acknowledged the efforts of the Youth Mayors on the brilliance exhibited during their presentations. He noted the continuous improvement in the forum’s quality since its introduction in 2016.
He also encouraged them to remain engaged in politics even after their term has ended.
The Minister expressed gratitude to the youth leaders for their participation in the programme and challenged them to ensure the successful execution of their projects.
The Youth Mayors’ Forum form part of the activities of Local Government and Community Month, which is observed in November each year.