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WiredJa Online News

Parish Councils defy instructions from Minister to meet in August

Featured Chairman of the Association of Local Government Authorities of Jamaica Scean Barnswell has described the instruction from the Minister as strange. Chairman of the Association of Local Government Authorities of Jamaica Scean Barnswell has described the instruction from the Minister as strange.
MONTEGO BAY, August 12, 2016 - Despite an instruction from Local Government MInister Desmond McKenzie that Parish Councils should forgo their annual summer break and meet in August, reports are that very few Councils held their monthly meeting yesterday.
 
Several Parish Councils on Thursday postponed their monthly meetings of due to the lack of a quorum. Some councillors had proceeded on vacation despite the Minister's instruction.
 
The number of parish councils which did not meet on Thursday is higher than initially reported. 
 
The monthly meeting of the St. James, St. Thomas, St. Elizabeth and Clarendon parish councils did not take place due to the absence of members.

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie is said to be coming under pressure over his instruction for local authorities to hold meetings this month instead of proceeding on the usual summer break.

In fact, the Parliamentary Opposition is requesting a meeting with Mr. McKenzie to ascertain what prompted the instruction.
 
Opposition Spokesman on Local Government and former holder of the portfolio under the previous government, Noel Arscott, says the issue warrants a response from Mr. McKenzie.
 
Mr. Arscott is suggesting that the Local Government Minister reconsider the instruction to local authorities given the lack of response from councillors.
 
The Local Government Minister has accused some members of Parish Councils of playing politics in criticizing his instruction that local authorities meet this month. Mr. McKenzie says the instruction is in keeping with regulations.

Wiredja Online News contacted one of Jamaica's foremost authority on Local Government, former Minister Arnold Bertram, to ascertain the source of the Local Government Minister's authority to issue such an instruction.

Mr. Bertram indicated that as far as he was aware, the Minister had no power over Parish Councils outside of financing and interpretation of  the laws.

The former Local Government Minister who is credited with the reform of Local Government, said Parish Councils were elected independent of the Local Government Minister, who had no dictatorial authority over Councils.

Mr. Bertram feels that a matter such as this should not be left to hang, but should be tested by one of the local authorities.

The Local Government Minister's instruction did not go down well with the Chairmen of the local authorities who were up in arms over this unusual order from the Local Government Minister.

Chairman of the Association of Local Government Authorities of Jamaica (ALGA-J) Scean Barnswell, who is head of the Clarendon Parish Council, had described the Minister's instruction as strange.

                                             

 

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