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Maroon Communities to Benefit from $1.6 m Support from Local Government

Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government in the Office of the Prime Minister, Robert Montague announced a $1.6million budgetary support to the Maroon Secretariat for special employment, beautification projects and administrative support .

The announcement was made this afternoon following an exploratory meeting that was designed to entertain dialogue on forging a relationship and strengthening the partnership between the local government authorities and the Maroon community.

The special meeting of Maroon Leaders which was convened by Minister Montague at the Department of Local Government, saw the attendance of ten (10) members from maroon locations such as Charlestown and Moore Town in Portland, Scott’s Hall in St. Mary, and Accompong in St. Elizabeth.

In his remarks to the Maroons, Minister Montague noted, “ as part of our local government reform thrust it becomes imperative that we use the opportunity for a new type of engagement and dialogue with the Maroons and to explore with you how you view the proposal for a relationship with the local government authorities.”

The Maroon leaders while embracing the sentiments of the Minister “applauded him for seeking to engage them in dialogue and extending an invitation to them to sit at the formal table

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for discussion.”

Both parties agreed that the treaty governing the Maroons must be respected in going forward in any relationship or engagement with the local state.

The Maroons who celebrate their 273rd Anniversary on January 6, 2011, reiterated that any relationship between the local government authorities and themselves will have to recognize them as a “special people” and as such would put the proposal of forging a relationship to their community members before proceeding in making any commitments.

The meeting which included technical personnel of the Department of Local Government ended in agreement with the Minister requesting that the following conditions be pursued:

• Maroon leaders to hold consultation with respective community members
• All parties to reconvene at a date to be announced following the consultations to define the structure and function of the relationship.

Contact: Communications Unit 920-8152; 754-0992-9, 579-7454

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