Minister of Local Government, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, CD, MP JP, asserted the responsibilities of the ministry on November 20, 2019 at the St James Municipal Corporation.
Reiterating the point that Jamaica strongly benefits from Active local Governance, The Community Development Minister outlined, “… while it is government responsibility to provide support, it is also government responsibility to ‘fast’ in your business”. It embodies building regulations and “…not only poor people alone have abused the right to build but also the rich and famous and those who can do better“.
In addition more than 80% of the Services people benefit from falls under the scope of local government. Therefore challenging them to look beyond the now. More pointedly, to the Junior Mayors he infused the charge “The future of this country is vested in your hands”.
In affirming his points Minister McKenzie reminded them that one does not have to start at the level of MP to make a contribution to the development of the country as local government was the launching pad for some national heroes and Prime Ministers.
To name a few, mention was made of, National Hero Marcus Mosiah Garvey who was the Councillor for Denham Town. National Hero Sir Alexander Bustamante who was a Councillor before becoming the first Mayor of an amalgamated Kingston and Saint Andrew. National Hero Sir George William Gordon who in the days when plantations were in control, he sat as their Councillor. Former Prime Minister Hugh Shearer was a Councillor in the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC). Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller former Prime Minister was also a Councillor.
In closing, Minister McKenzie made a Grand Announcement, much to the delight of the attendees of the Youth Forum.
“2020 Jamaica will be hosting a very important Conference on local Government. For the first time in the history of the United Nations, they are hosting a conference outside of Latin America and Jamaica has been nominated to host the seventh (7th) Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction. The Conference will be held in Montego Bay over a four (4)-day period from the 8th-10th of July 2020. Over 1500 delegates coming from over 50 Countries not only countries within the region of Latin America and the Caribbean but also from outside off our regions”.
Based on suggestions, Mr. McKenzie made to the United Nation through UNICEF, on July 7th 2020 a Youth Forum will also be hosted on Disaster Risk Reduction. Only young people will be participating in the Forum. Planning is already underway.
The next Junior Mayor’s Youth Forum will be held in the Parish of Portland, 2020.