"Study Placing Jamaica Last in Local Government Approval Disappointing But Not Surprising". - McKenzie
Responding to a recent study by the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) which shows Jamaica as the country in the Americas with the lowest level of satisfaction and confidence in its local government, Opposition Spokesman on Local Government, Mr. Desmond McKenzie, says while he is disappointed and disturbed by the findings, he is not surprised. The study shows that only 33.7 per cent of Jamaicans trust the local government and 40.5 per cent are satisfied with local government services; placing Jamaica at the bottom of the list of 25 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Mr. McKenzie said: “As Opposition Spokesman on Local Government and an individual who has been actively involved in the development of our local government system, I am disappointed, but not entirely surprised to see Jamaica being considered as having the lowest local government approval rating according to the opinion survey. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s development and must ensure that much more is being done to accord our system of local government the pride of place it deserves and set the stage for the public’s satisfaction and confidence in the system can be restored.”
The Opposition Spokesman continued: “I am particularly disappointed that we have missed a grand opportunity as a country to leverage the Bill designed to entrench local government in the constitution of Jamaica by presenting the three companion pieces of legislation at the same time. Had the three strategic bills as well as the entrenchment Bill been presented to Parliament as a package, it would have set the stage for the timely and effective restoration of the local government system. The legislative provisions, taken together, would provide the mechanism for more effective and efficient administration of the local government system and facilitate accountability, transparency and integrity in such a way that the public would begin to repose greater levels of confidence in the system.
He says: “We must use the findings of this LAPOP study to reset the dial and focus our energies on attracting more persons of integrity and competence to the local government system, and build capacity in ways that ensures greater levels of accountability and effective stewardship so that the public’s confidence can be inspired and trust in the system restored.
Mr. McKenzie, in closing, said: “If we were more efficient in the administration of local government and more effective in delivering services for which taxpayers pay their hard-earned money, we would be better served as a nation. We would be successful in changing overtime, how people feel about the system and their level of satisfaction with the service they are receiving, and would encourage them to be more compliant with their civic obligations.