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McKenzie says he is not shutting down parish councils

Published:Wednesday | June 22, 2016 | 3:42 PM
McKenzie ... This administration has no intention of shutting down local government. We are going to strengthen local government.

Jovan Johnson, Parliamentary Reporter

Local Government  Minister  Desmond McKenzie has responded  to critics  saying  he is not "shutting down"  parish  councils in his ministry's crusade  against  corruption  at the  local  level.

"This administration  has no intention of shutting  down local  government.  We are going to strengthen local government," he told the House of Representatives this afternoon.

McKenzie has been criticised for his handling of reports of the Office of the Contractor  General which  have pointed  to allegations  of corruption in the Hanover  Parish Council.

READ: McKenzie orders immediate audit of Hanover Parish Council 

Following one of the reports, McKenzie ordered that all documents in the council be secured for his ministry, which has legal powers over all parish councils.

IN PHOTO: Former Lucea Mayor Lloyd Hill

Speaking today, McKenzie said local government  has been "shaken and battered" by the  findings  of reports.

"This administration  will not stand aside and allow breaches  to continue," he said.

McKenzie also said  a number of measures  will be taken including the implementation of audit committees in the 13 councils to improve performance.

In the most recent high profile case, Lloyd Hill and Anthony Walker, People's National Party councillors in the Hanover council were accused of awarding contracts to family members and political affiliates.

READ: OCG cites nepotism again at Hanover Parish Council

The development came as former council chairman and Lucea mayor Shernet Haughton continued her court appearance on similar  OCG allegations.