Minister of State with Responsibility for Local Government, Shahine Robinson, says there is need for strong and dynamic leadership in the local authorities as the issue of governance has an impact on the finances and administrative processes of councils.
She was addressing members of the Westmoreland Parish Council at the opening session of their financial management retreat at the Riu Hotel, Montego Bay, last Friday.
The retreat was held under the theme 'Strategies to Achieve Self-financing Goals'.
Robinson congratulated the council on its foresight in convening the retreat despite the challenges of financial resources.
"I note that your theme is one that has major implications for the survival of your council in the face of the global economic downturn from which some economies, such as ours, are only just emerging," she said.
Lead from the front
Robinson said that it is the duty of leaders to inspire confidence. She gave the assurance that the Government was prepared to lead from the front by encouraging the unmistaken view that it cannot be business as usual.
The state minister told members of the council that they had a golden opportunity to improve their revenue base, a task which, even if it appeared impossible, was achievable.
"We must remain unswerving in our determination to meet hard times with an even harder will," Robinson urged.
Former minister of state with responsibility for local government reform and newly appointed Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Robert Montague, congratulated the council for its innovativeness in organising the retreat. He said that if the council is to meet its financial objectives, all regulations and by-laws must be reviewed.
"Let us maximise those that we know and have been using so as to become financially able to meet all monetary obligations and objectives," he said.
Under the Local Government Reform programme, local authorities have been mandated to provide 30 per cent of their funding from own-source revenues. Consequently, the Westmoreland Parish Council decided to convene the workshop to focus on strategies to realise that goal.