Jamaica Gleaner / WESTERN BUREAU:
Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie is urging residents in western Jamaica to remove non-performing councillors, regardless of party affiliation, in the imminent election.
McKenzie was addressing the national church service to mark Local Government and Community Month at Lucea United Church in Hanover yesterday.
“I want to use the opportunity here to say to you this morning: We are your servants; we are here to serve you and nobody in here this morning should feel that you don’t have a recourse when we fail to perform,” he said.
“You have a right that in many countries that right is denied because of the system of government that they practise.”
McKenzie added: “Here in our country, you have a right when I fail as the minister, or Mayor (Bertel) Moore fails, or Senator (Charles) Sinclair fails – you have a God-given right – the right to vote, the right to exercise that democratic right, to refuse those of us who fail in our responsibility.”
Moore is mayor of Savanna-la-Mar and councillor for the Negril division, while Sinclair is councillor for the Flanker division in St James and a member of the Senate.
“I challenge the congregation this morning to use that veto power – to use it in a way that none of us will ever forget that you are the ones that hold the balance of power … . If you don’t elect us, we can’t be elected; this is not a totalitarian system where we impose ourselves on you,” McKenzie added.
DEEP REFLECTION The minister said residents should do some deep reflection ahead of the local government polls and vote in the interest of their communities, and based on the track record of those putting themselves forward as candidates.
“And, what you are voting for, what you are supporting, is service, not party, not individuals. I urge you, as we begin to commemorate Local Government Month, ask yourselves: Are you getting the service that you deserve from the local authorities? Are you aware of what it is the local authorities have responsibility for? Are you seeing your local representatives? Is the mayor responsive to your complaints? Is Senator Sinclair living up to his responsibility? When you ask yourselves those fundamental and far-reaching questions, then you can make that determination,” McKenzie said.
“Ensure you become participants in the democratic process of our country,” he said.