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Ministry Extends Junior Councils’ Tenure

KINGSTON, Jamaica: The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has extended the tenure of the current Junior Council for another year.

The Junior Council Programme forms part of the activities for Local Government and Community Month, which is observed annually in November.

“This is due to the current Covid-19 pandemic which has prevented them from accomplishing any of their projects for the tenure. Also, the practicing of social distancing in schools has made the recruitment of process extremely difficult at this time,” said Permanent Secretary Marsha Henry Martin.

The Junior Council is made up of Youth Mayor in each Municipal Corporation and are supported by Junior Councillors akin to the number of parochial divisions in each parish.

The Programme provides an avenue for young people to play their part in the transformation of their communities and educate citizens about the importance of local government.

The Permanent Secretary has also advised the chief executive officers in each Municipality to have the Junior Councils explore the creation of an “easy to read” Local Government Manual as part of their main project. The manual is to explain the role and function of local government within the community and society; as well as the organizational structure that explains the distinction between the political directorate and the administrative arm.

“This would be a signal achievement as it has never been done before and it can be used by municipal corporations islandwide especially since local government now forms part of the Grade 5 curriculum. They could also do virtual presentations and share electronic copies with schools,” Mrs. Henry Martin added.

The Ministry also increased the funds allocated to each Junior Council last November.  The allocation, which is used for the Councils’ projects, was increased to $750,000 from $500,000.