Inside the Municipal Corporation | Portmore stands strong on citizens' groups
The Portmore Municipal Corporation has made it clear that it will not ratify the revised Joint Portmore Citizens Association as an arm of the corporation unless it establishes mechanisms to ensure that persons who sit on it are members of citizens' associations in the municipality.
Social Development Commission (SDC) Parish Manager Samuel Heron, in a report to Wednesday night's monthly meeting of the municipal corporation, disclosed that the SDC was spearheading efforts to reconstitute the the Joint Citizens' Association that has been dormant for quite some time.
Portmore Mayor Leon Thomas, while acknowledging the importance of the association to the municipality, said the municipal corporation will not support a body where members are not part of their own citizens' association, but just parading as individuals.
"We have seen in the past where the Joint Citizens Association was made up of persons who were not members of citizens associations.
"This does not help. All you find is persons representing their own interest, instead of the interest of the entire community," Thomas asserted.
"We are the persons elected by the people, so it is fitting that the Joint Citizens Association partnered with us to deal with the problems in the communities," he further stated.
CHANGE THE CULTURE
As part of the streamlining process, the Portmore mayor wants to see persons first drawn from the associations to a cluster and then to the Joint Citizens Association body, and the minutes of all meetings shared with the municipal corporation.
"We want to change the culture of this body so it can be more meaningful to the communities by working with the councillors," Thomas said.
Support was overwhelming, with Waterford division councillor Fenley Douglas first to side with the mayor, pointing out that councillors are ex officio members at citizens' association meetings.
"I wish to endorse what the mayor said. We must know what goes on in these communities; we can't be at every meeting, so there must be a structure," Douglas stated.
Southboro councillor Ainsley Parkins, in giving his support, said he is all for accountability.
"The municipality is based on citizens' participation, so, yes, we should hold them accountable and ensure that they function with guidelines," he said.