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December 21, 2013
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Drafting instructions given for local governance laws

Noel Arscott, minister of local government and community development, in Gordon house June 6, 2012. - Norman Grindley

Cabinet has issued drafting instructions for three strategic laws, which are pivotal to the process of local government reform.

These are: the Local Governance Act; the Local Government Financing and Financial Management Act; and the Local Government (Unified Services and Employment) Act.

This was revealed by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Noel Arscott, while addressing the launch of the governance thematic working group at the ministry's Hagley Park Road offices, on December 17.

Arscott said the legislation would facilitate the modernisation of the local government system in Jamaica and enable local authorities to more effectively respond to the citizenry.

He said the laws are a major step in adding legal authority to the role and functions carried out by the authorities, which will allow them to operate within a new governance framework and become more responsive to its citizens.

"It also creates the context for the legitimate expectations of citizens for higher levels of service delivery, which is dependent on how an organisation is structured to provide those services," Arscott pointed out.

"Similarly, the progress made through our collaboration with the chief parliamentary counsel in finalising drafts of the new National Building Bill is another step in demonstrating more effective governance of the built environment at the level expected in a 21st-century environment," Arscott said.

The group comprises representatives from a number of public and private sector organisations and has responsibility for coordinating and monitoring activities related to national outcome number six - Effective Governance - under the Vision 2030 National Development Plan.

Minister of State in the Ministry, Colin Fagan, said he anticipates that the guidance to be provided by the group on policy and strategy related to the governance thematic areas of focus will result in a better governance structure.

For his part, Programme Director, Vision 2030 Jamaica Secretariat, Richard Lumsden, added that the Planning Institute of Jamaica, in its role as national secretariat for Vision 2030 Jamaica, pledged its technical, logistical, and secretariat support for the operation of the governance thematic working group.

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