Government to revive indigent grant – McKenzie
Local government minister Desmond McKenzie has said that come next year, his ministry will be reviving a financial housing grant, which, in the past, provided parish council divisions across Jamaica with funds to assist needy residents.
"We are going to be reinstituting, beginning next year, an allocation to the 228 municipal divisions across the country of an indigent grant for the assistance of housing repairs for the indigent in your respective divisions," McKenzie said, while addressing Thursday's swearing-in of councillors at the St James Municipal Corporation.
McKenzie explained that back when he was the councillor for the Denham Town division in the Kingston Western constituency in 1977, the fund existed for councillors to help constituents in repairing their homes.
"When I became a councillor in 1977, one of the prides of a councillor was the fact that you were able to offer, at the time, indigent grant support to your divisions," McKenzie explained. "When somebody wanted a window or a door or a sheet of zinc to carry out some repairs to their house, provisions were there within the local authorities. That has been thrown out the window.
"This is not a source of funding that can be used for anything else. We are going to sit with the mayors, the CEOs of the municipal corporations, and put in place the mechanism as to how those funds can be accessed, and the purpose that it (funding) is intended for," added McKenzie.
The minister also warned that his ministry will not accept any excuses from councillors in any of the municipal corporations for not doing the work they have been elected to do.
"There can be no excuse. Having resources is not an issue for the municipal corporations across the country. One of the things that we experienced over the last four years is excuses for inefficiency and non-performance, and we want to get past that," said McKenzie. "I want to make the announcement this afternoon because we are going to be strengthening your ability as local representatives to deliver service."