Jamaica Gleaner / Western Bureau:
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has suggested that, being tasked with providing the majority of the services required by the people of Jamaica, his ministry is perhaps the most critical in terms of having the requisite infrastructure for development.
“Eighty per cent of the services to the people of this country
are delivered through local government,” said McKenzie, who was speaking at the launch of 2017 Local Government Month, in Falmouth, Trelawny.
“We have a mandate to provide a great number of services. Included in this number is poor relief, garbage collection, street lights, and community projects, through the Social Development Commission.”
McKenzie used the opportunity to highlight some of the services local government facilitates, including the vast sums allotted
to the Urban Development Corporation for various projects, including some in Trelawny.
“Eleven million dollars has been allocated to the SDC for 285 projects, 22 of which are for Trelawny,” said McKenzie.
“This is so because local government regards community development as part of its mandate.”
Speaking to the matter of street lights, the local government minister said an arrangement is in place between his ministry and the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) to replace the existing bulbs with energy-saving ones.
“We have arranged that by the end of this year, 35,000 are to be retrofitted with energy-saving smart bulbs. So far, the number has reached 20,000,” McKenzie explained.
“The arrangement goes further. In three years, we expect that 105,000 lights will be retrofitted.”
In embracing the new dispensation between his ministry and the JPS in regard to street lights, McKenzie made an appeal to criminal elements to stop destroying the new bulbs.
“I am appealing to the criminal elements to stop shooting down the lights. When you do that, it costs taxpayers to replace them,” said McKenzie.
“It is through property taxes paid by you that our monthly bill is paid. When we have to replace the lights, it is money that can be used to provide other services.”