PRIME MINISTER Portia Simpson Miller has charged Jamaicans to get involved in the development of their communities and to ensure that their voices are represented on committees that will impact their lives.
"This is how we will best ensure that changes we want to see are achieved," Simpson Miller said in her message to mark Local Government Month.
The message was read by Sandra Goulbourne, parish manager for Kingston and St Andrew, at the Social Development Commission (SDC) during a service held yesterday at the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew to mark its launch.
"One of the responsibilities of a free people in a democratic society is that they must govern themselves and to do so, they must empower themselves," the prime minister said.
"I urge everyone to use the observance of this Local Government Month to claim their role in making sure that the democracy is so cherished; it's not just the voice of the people, it's service to the people," she added.
Local Government Month is aimed at promoting and enhancing community development. The SDC, which is in charge of implementing various projects across communities in Jamaica, says its overall thrust is to re-energise a community spirit among persons.
Goulbourne also pointed out that this year, special emphasis would be placed on increasing awareness of the importance of volunteerism, especially among the young.
"We are trying to re-energise participation among communities, especially the issue of volunteerism among these young people and the entire community," she said.
"This year, we'll be having projects in all 14 parishes, which is a first, and where these projects will be held we'll be having community groups, youth groups especially.