The people of St. Elizabeth are now being served from a new Municipal Building. The new J$20 million structure is the outcome of a project was initiated five years ago, in November 2010, and continued through the change in political administration in 2012.
According to Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Noel Arscott, the new building sends “a vital symbolic message that the Parish Council is renewing itself, and is under construction to emerge with greater vigour to serve the people of St. Elizabeth. It sends the signal that Local Government, especially in rural Jamaica, is no longer to be seen as operating from ramshackle, parochial, outpost-like structures, but is instead, modern, corporate-oriented and convenient to all who interact with it…this new building will be a modern, contemporary landmark, a symbol of pride for parishioners, and a physical beacon of the modern, reformed Local Government that we are working to implement throughout Jamaica.”
In charging Councillors to use the building to increase their contact with and service to the people of the parish, Mr. Arscott said the Local Government (Financing & Financial Management) Bill, which was recently passed by the House of Representatives, contains specific standards of fiscal and civic accountability, which include the requirement that every Municipal Council is to consult formally with the people in its jurisdiction about its plans and programmes at least once per year, before those plans are submitted to the Minister.
The occasion was also used to officially launch the St. Elizabeth Sustainable Development Plan, which was completed at a cost of approximately J$50 million.
The Plan is the outcome of four years of research, consultation and engagement between the St. Elizabeth Parish Council, the St. Elizabeth Parish Development Committee, other major stakeholder associations and citizens, regarding the future of this parish over the next twenty years, in keeping with the objectives of Vision 2030.
Community development, urban and rural renewal, crime reduction and the development of social capital are prominent issues addressed in the Plan. The next step is its implementation for the benefit of the parishioners.