Jamaica’s Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie, has called on local authorities to become more self-sufficient, in order to reduce their dependency on central government.
Addressing the inaugural Caribbean Conference of Mayors, which ended on Wednesday, McKenzie said “if we speak about the independence of local government, then we should create our own niche of revenue, and it’s time we extricate ourselves from the pockets of central government by becoming more relevant when it comes to generating our own sources of revenue.”
He told the delegates attending the conference being held under the theme “Caribbean Cities: Honoring the Past, Embracing a Smart Future” that the potential is there for this to become a reality, noting that “this is one area of disappointment in local government.”
Success of central govt is success of local govt
He said that the success of central government requires the continued success of local government. “Local government has and continues to be the most accessible and intimate form of government to the citizens anywhere, (and) its importance continues to grow.”
He said the conference provides an opportunity for local government practitioners to share best practices and significantly improve the quality of service provided to citizens, particularly in starting the process of coordinating the creation of smart cities across the Caribbean.
The organizers said that the conference, is geared towards building relationships and understanding among mayors and local government practitioners from across the Caribbean.
The Caribbean Conference of Mayors, organized by the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation. forms part of the activities marking Kingston’s 145th anniversary as capital of Jamaica.