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Local Government Public Education Campaign to be launched

FALMOUTH, Trelawny: The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development will spearhead a public education initiative to educate Jamaicans on the roles and functions of municipal corporations and its elected parochial representatives in short order.

“There are going to be extensive sensitization programmes with councillors which will happen in the next two weeks. The handbook for councillors will be ready shortly. We are revising the handbook,” explained Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie.

“We’re not only providing information to strengthen the Councillors, but we’re going to be providing information so that the country can know the role of local government.”

He was speaking at the March 7 swearing-in ceremony for newly elected councillors as well as the election of Mayor and Deputy Mayor at the Trelawny Municipal Corporation in Falmouth.

Councillor Collen Gager representing the Warsop Division was sworn in as chairman of the Corporation and Mayor of Falmouth. His deputy is Councillor Jonathan Bartley of the Wakefield Division.

The Trelawny Municipal Corporation is made up of nine councillors – six of which were elected on the Jamaica Labour Party ticket and three from the People’s National Party.

“…I will champion the cause for Councillors to become more accountable, for councillors to be transparent, for councillors to be seen, to be felt in their respective divisions,” Minister McKenzie added.

“A number of polls were conducted which indicate that persons in every parish say they don’t know the Mayor, they don’t know the Councillor, and for me that don’t sound good.”

The Minister also urged Mayor Gager – who is now serving a third-consecutive stint as Mayor – and his team to be mindful and take note of public sentiments.

The Mayor used the occasion to urge the Councillors to serve with integrity and distinction.

“As we turn to the future, I am ready to lead our town and parish’s recovery and renewal. That means leading the way [in terms] of accountability, and pride in the execution of duties,” said Mayor Gager.

“Each Councillor will be held accountable for his allocation. Remember, the residents are holding us to task. Whatever you do or say will affect the Trelawny Municipal Corporation.”