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Local Government Month Launched: Focusing on Service Delivery

Local Government Month was officially launched on Thursday November 5, 2009 at Jamaica House. The two (2) hour long ceremony was well attended.

The main address was delivered by Minna Israel, president of the Jamaica Bankers Association, who focused on the importance of quality customer service. Ms Israel spoke to the need to improve the way we do business in Jamaica through improved service delivery. She noted that local government reform, in reorganizing the way local authorities function, is seeking to give local authorities the ability to better serve their communities. She pointed to the fact that local government is the level of governance closest to the people and as such its reformation, if managed and implemented effectively, will result in improved service to all citizens.

Ms. Israel also spoke about the importance of individual productivity to good customer service. She said that one could not “….deliver excellent customer service if your personal productivity is sub-standard”. She pointed out that the councillors who make up the local government system will have to lead and manage the change, ensuring that their personal productivity is at the highest level. As Jamaica is consider the leader in local governance in the region Miss Israel, who is also the Managing Director and Country Head for RBTT Bank, ended her speech by challenging local government practitioners to “lift the standards higher and higher, setting bench marks for the rest of the region and the world to follow”.

Minsiter Montague (L) receives a copy of the Final NACReport from Professor Rex Nettleford, chairman of the NAC.

The launch of Local Government Month 2009 was most significant as it included the handing over of the final report of the National Advisory Council (NAC) on Local Government Reform; the launch of the (revised) Councillor’s Handbook as well as the handing over of the Applications Management and Data Automation Software (AMANDA) to the Department of Local Government by Mr. Anthony Chang chairman of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce Legislation and Regulations Committee.
Minister of State in Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for local government, the Honourable Robert Montague, received a copy of the final NAC Report from chairman of the NAC, Professor Rex Nettleford and the revised Councillor’s Handbook was handed to him by Councillor Lee Clarke, chairman of Councillor’s Handbook sub-committee.
The launch also included announcements of a number of activities being undertaken to mark the month.
  • A month-long exhibition at the Kingston & St. Andrew Parish Library Observation of World Town Planning Day on November 6th 4:30 p.m.  at Knutsford Court Hotel
  • Mayors’ and Secretary/Managers’ one day retreat, November 18, 2009 at the Jamaica Conference Centre
  • Minister’s Round Table Talk with UWI students November 25, 6:00 p.m. at UWI
  • Talent Shows at the Golden Age Home, Vineyard Town, November 10th and St. Catherine Infirmary, November 17th

Each Local Authority will be undertaking activities as well, including church services, exhibitions, selection of junior mayors, town hall meeting etc.

Minister Montague discusses a section of the newly published (revised) Councillor’s Handbook with Mayor of Kingston Senator Councillor Desmond McKenzie (R).

The launch of Local Government Month was a collaboratively effort between the Department of Local Government and the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation.