Permanent Secretary Robert Rainford along with members of his management team visited the St Elizabeth Parish Council yesterday, Thursday September 13, 2012 as part of his familiarization session with the Local Government portfolio.
The PS informed senior members of the Councils’ administrative team as well as the full membership of the Council, who had earlier sat for their monthly Council meeting, that this was his first stop in a journey designed to fully immerse himself in the character/nature of the Local Authorities in order to be better able to address their needs at the Ministry. “I want to talk with you about your Council, your parish and your challenges so that when matters come to my desk I have a context in which I can deliberate and make decisions”, he said.
The Council was very responsive to and appreciative of the approach taken by the Permanent Secretary and took the opportunity to inform him of matters which were of greatest concern to them as well as to highlight some of their most recent achievements.
The common thread throughout the Councillors’ presentations was a general disquiet with the pace of the local government reform programme, opening the cue for Mr Clive Edwards Project Manager of Local Government Reform Programme, to provide an update.
There were also a few items that PS Rainford was asked to advance on behalf of the Council; these included the establishment of a tax collection facility in Junction and the completion of the Municipal Building.
Secretary/Manager of the St Elizabeth Parish Council, Mr. David Parkes reported that over the last year the Council has achieved a number of goals including the installation of a new Financial Management and Accounting System (FMAS), the installation of the Approval Management and Data Analysis (AMANDA) software along with attendant components, the completion of a new matron’s quarter, the Santa Cruz Fire Station and the fishing market.
The team also met with administrative staff and conducted a tour of the infirmary in Santa Cruz and the Black River Market, which is being renovated and is at 80% completionof the first phase.