Wed | Jun 3, 2020

Caribbean mayors see Kingston as pacesetter after 145 years

Published:Wednesday | April 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju/ Gleaner Writer
From left: Peterson Francis, mayor of the City of Castries, St Lucia; Alderman Joel Martinez, mayor of Port-of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; Delroy William, mayor of Kingston, Jamaica; and Patricia Chase Green, mayor of Georgetown, Guyana, in conversation during the closing ceremony of the three-day Conference of Caribbean Mayors, held at South Parade, downtown Kingston on Wednesday.

After three days of discourse, participants in the first Caribbean Conference of Mayors, held at the University of the West Indies, Mona Regional Headquarters, have agreed in principle on a template for strengthening local governance at the regional level.

"We have similar issues confronting us as local government practitioners. As mayors, we face similar challenges, and so we have committed to meeting biennially and working together at the level of local government and to visit conferences across the globe as a unit,"host mayor Delroy Williams told The Gleaner after Wednesday's closing ceremony at South Parade, downtown Kingston.

He added: "We will ensure that we lobby for each other so that we can, as a unit, share ideas and approaches at the difference conferences. When we go and speak on various issues as a region, then we are more forceful in terms of presenting issues confronting us as cities, towns, and municipalities across the Caribbean. This way, we will mutually grow at the level of local government.

The closing ceremony included a re-enactment of the official transference of the seat of administration power from Spanish Town, St Catherine, to Kingston on Thursday, April 11, 1872. During the re-enactment, the original resolution was delivered on horseback by two members of the Mounted Troop division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force in keeping with that era.


Brought back memories


"It was emotional for me because when I reflect on what took place 145 years ago, it brought back a lot of memories from your history," Patricia Chase Green, mayor of Georgetown, Guyana, told The Gleaner.

"It tells us about your past. We are in the present and are looking to embrace a very smart future. Therefore, the integration and collaboration between the local government authorities around the Caribbean is going to be fantastic," she added.

Alderman Joel Martinez, mayor of Port-of-Spain, capital of the twin-island republic of Trinidad & Tobago, was just as impressed with the history lesson.

"I think Jamaica is well ahead of us because in Trinidad, we are 104 years this year. So this is very significant for the people of Jamaica, and I must say, congratulations."