McKenzie clarifies 'withholding funds' statement
Local government minister Desmond McKenzie has sought to clarify a statement he made last week that his ministry will withhold money from local authorities if they fail to follow established rules.
McKenzie made the statement during his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Parliament as he addressed alleged corruption at some parish councils across the island.
However, there were concerns raised by some, including Opposition spokesman on local government Noel Arscott, that McKenzie was planning to withhold money from parish council staff members.
The Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers (JALGO), which represents the workers had also expressed concern.
However, speaking yesterday with journalist Cliff Hughes on Nationwide 90 FM, McKenzie said his comments were not related to the staff at parish councils, but to parish councilors who aren't following the rules.
McKenzie says the Parochial Revenue Fund and Property Taxes are two sources of funds that parish councils access to do their work.
He says there are laws that govern how these funds should be accessed but adds that most parish councils flout these laws.
McKenzie says this is what he is trying to prevent.
McKenzie has issued a public invitation to Helene Davis Whyte, the general secretary of JALGO and Scean Barnswell, president of the Association of Local Government Authorities, to meet with him to discuss anti-corruption measures for parish councils.
Amid alleged corruption at some parish councils, the Government has said it intends to audit all 13 local authorities.