November 30, 2015
Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Noel Arscott, last week officially opened the Council Chamber of the St. Elizabeth Parish Council, which was built at a cost of approximately $20 million.
The opening of the chamber is the first phase of construction of a new municipal building for the parish at a cost of $50 million.
The new Council Chamber, built through funding from the Ministry and the
St. Elizabeth Parish Council, comprises a Mayor’s lounge, meeting room, lobby area, and bathrooms. The project entailed installation of air-conditioning units, electrical fixtures, furniture, and a public address system.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Minister Arscott said the modernisation of services to the citizenry, through the Local Government reform process, must involve improving the physical spaces from which they are served.
“While I am aware that the original building is ultimately to be preserved as a museum, this new building will be a modern, contemporary landmark, a symbol of pride for citizens, and a physical beacon of the modern, reformed Local Government that we are working to implement throughout Jamaica,” Minister Arscott said.
He noted that the new Council Chamber is the first municipal structure to open since the system of Local Government was entrenched in the Jamaican Constitution, by the approval of both Houses of Parliament, and since the three strategic local governance laws were passed in the House of Representatives earlier this month.
Minister Arscott charged the councillors to use the building “to improve and expand your reach to the people of the parish, to communicate with them effectively and to practise every standard of accountability, in keeping with the provisions of the strategic laws.”
“Let the St. Elizabeth Parish Council be seen as a leader in the provision of common services and in the development of civic and social capital in Jamaica,” he added.