Speaking during the opening ceremony for the Participatory Accountability and Responsibility (PAR) Parish Forum held earlier this month, Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government & Community Development the Honourable Colin Fagan, said that accountability and responsibility have expanded beyond ‘being called to account for one’s action’.
The State Minister said that the Community Development Committee (CDC) forum, which was organized by the Social Development Commission, underscored the fact that accountability and responsibility applies not only to our elected representatives but to civil servants, legislative bodies and community groups as well. As the primary entity, along with the Local Authorities, through which the Ministry discharges its responsibilities relating to community development, the commission is doing its part to advance one of the basic tenets of the local government reform process, that of accountability and transparency, he said.
Minister of State Fagan lauded the SDC for their continued commitment to partnering with local and national stakeholders to maximize opportunities for growth in 783 communities in which they work. He also stated that the Forum gives stakeholders the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the Commission’s work.
On the subject of local government reform the Minister of State took the opportunity to update the audience on the progress of the legislative programme. He stated that the Ministry was awaiting final response from the Attorney General’s Chambers on the promulgation of the three strategic laws, the national building bill as well as recommendations made by the Ministry for the entrenchment of local government into the Jamaican constitution.
The Kingston and St Andrew CDC PAR conference was organized to look at the legitimization of community groups and the importance of their role in governance, as well as, to determine the readiness of community groups for local government reform. The conference examined such topics as the status of the Local Government Reform Act, the Participatory Governance Framework and Community Funding Sources.