During a visit to the Hanover Parish Council on Thursday, October 6, 2011, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for the CDF & Local Government, Honourable Shahine Robinson, pledged $6.8 mil towards rehabilitation work on the Council building and for the installation of a new financial management system.
The Minister, who was carrying out her fourth in a series of Day-in-Council visits designed to facilitate face-to-face interaction with Local Authorities, made the pledge in a special sitting of the Council which took place at the start of the day’s activities. She told the council that having heard their concerns she was sympathetic to their needs and was aware that the challenges being faced have been made even more difficult by the financial crisis of recent years.
“Notwithstanding, I believe this is where council and us at the Department of Local Government have to strengthen the cooperation between us in being not only pragmatic in our thinking but employ strategic management in the way we handle the affairs of the nation at the sub-national and central levels”, she said.
The installation of the financial management accounting system, to which $1.5 mil of the $6.8mil was pledged, is to being carried out on a phase basis in all Local Authorities and will see them moving from manual to automated accounting enhancing the management and control of resources within Councils. It is one of the strategies being employed by the Department of Local Government to boost the reform programme.
While reassuring the Hanover Parish Council of her support and commitment to the local government reform agenda, Minister Robinson also appealed for cooperation from councillors emphasizing the need for teamwork. She told them that they must begin to work as a team, resolving differences amicably and productively in working for the good of Council and community. She admonished the council saying, “If you, the parish government cannot find a way to work together you cannot provide good governance”.
The Local Government Minister also said local government officials and entities must begin to see their relationship as a partnership facilitating each other, leading by example, managing council as a business and lifting the face of council from being judged as “parochial” in behavior in and outside of council and that teamwork, visionary leadership, and responsiveness to citizens were essential ingredients in achieving this change.
She said “We owe it to them (citizens) and collectively we can continue to make local government reform that aspect of government that continues to be relevant to the people, the communities and Jamaica land we love”.
Minister Robinson next visits are to the St Thomas Parish Council on Monday October 10, 2011 and to the St Elizabeth and Westmoreland Parish Councils the following week.