Parish councillors slam local gov't body for not serving their interests
Deputy chairman of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation Ralston Wilson, has charged that the Association of Local Government Authorities (ALGA) is not acting in the interest of councillors.
Giving a very dismal account of the organisation's performance since the change of leadership brought on by the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) victory in the local government elections last year, Wilson said the organisation has been dormant and failing to address the interests of councillors.
"Councillors have been suffering; we have not seen any attempt to address the issue of motor vehicle upkeep, increase travelling allowance and pay upgrade, among other things," said Wilson.
"The formation of the organisation is to represent us, but it is not working in the interest of the councillors, it has not done anything to benefit councillors since the change of government," he continued.
The deputy mayor said that in order for councillors to get something out of ALGA, changes have to be made to ensure that the leadership is drawn from the opposing party.
"I am hoping that the minister of local government will have a change of heart and let us see the difference; because for the organisation to move forward and fulfil its mission of looking out for the interest of councillors, the leadership structure must change," Wilson argued.
In a show of support for Wilson's position, Mayor Norman Scott said he would also like to see the leadership of ALGA come from the opposing party.
"This would definitely create a more vibrant body keen on addressing councillors' interests," Scott said.
"When you look at the make-up of ALGA, it is determined by the party in power and nothing gets done, because people are trying to protect party interest."
In a rare moment of unity, JLP whip in the municipal corporation, Owen Palmer, agreed with his People's National Party counterparts that the organisation would be best served by having the leadership drawn from the opposing party.
"Mister Chairman, I stand to support the idea that the leadership should be drawn from the opposition. If this is achieved, it will drive a more positive agenda," he said.
"What we see sometimes is that when the leadership is with the governing party, some level of complacency sets in and councillors' interests are neglected."