Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Hanover councillors could be flouting ministry guidelines

Published:Tuesday | June 7, 2016 | 6:00 AM
This section of Seaview Drive in Lucea is flooded each time it rains. It is widely believed that proper drain cleaning would rid the town of this problem.

If the Hanover Parish Council is, indeed, guilty of breaches cited by the Office of the Contractor General, it would simply mean councillors are not adhering to the guidelines of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

The guidelines, designed to protect the interests of the people who live in the respective divisions, have the equitable allocation of funds collected by the parish council as their chief provision.

The document, titled, 'Functions and Duties of a Councillor', charges councillors to undertake the following responsibilities:

- Aggressively represent the concerns of the citizens of the division in a clear, well-researched and articulate manner as well as attend regular monthly meetings of the parish council and the parish council subcommittee meetings as required.

- Councillors have a duty to ensure the needs of the travelling public are met by making representations to their respective parish councils in all matters concerning parish council road repairs and maintenance, to recommend the establishment of public-parking facilities, and monitor the establishment and maintenance of transportation centres.

- Public cleansing and garbage collection is also another area which councillors are mandated to ensure is effectively carried out through the maintenance of parks and markets, upkeep of public cemeteries, and the construction and maintenance of public sanitary conveniences.

- Where social issues are concerned, councillors are to liaise with the Poor Relief Department in respect of the needs of the poor in their divisions; and monitor the operations of children's homes and homes for the aged (infirmaries) or the homeless, to ensure their proper functioning.

- Parish councillors have a responsibility to make effective representation to ensure all communities have access to potable water supply through the establishment and maintenance of minor water-supply systems, including the entombment of springs and the construction and maintenance of catchment tanks and community wayside tanks.

- The installation of new street lights and maintenance of existing street lights, the control of public vending, the streamlining and regularising of building regulations are among the other duties. In addition, the councillor is expected to be socially active in the community by attending set-ups, funeral services, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, civic ceremonies, as part of their ongoing representational duties.

- Work with the members of parliament to ensure that activities are not being duplicated.

- Be generally available to divisional constituents in order to answer questions, write recommendations give advice.

- Work with the Parish Development Committees in planning for the division.

- Liaise with agencies such as the Ministry of Social Security, the National Works Agency (NWA) and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund and other NGOs and assist them to submit applications for projects in the community.

- Ensure the registration of individuals who qualify as contractors with the parish councils, the NWA and National Contracts Commission.

- Work closely with zone supervisors in the identifying the needs of the division.