#Jamaica, October 11, 2017 – Kingston – The inaugural Cross-Island Run got under way today (October 10) at Jamaica House to launch Local Government and Community Month, observed annually in November. The run will last until October 29, with more than 200 runners from several youth groups trekking across the island delivering messages from the Governor-General, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Local Government and Community Development, the Leader of the Opposition and the Association of Local Government Authorities of Jamaica (ALGAJ) to the Mayors in the parish capitals.
Morant Bay New Testament Church in St. Thomas will be the end of the journey on October 29, at which time the messages will be read at a National Church Service. Additionally, the messages will also be read at several parish church services as part of the activities being staged by the local authorities throughout the month of November.
Among the activities to be staged during the month are the robing of the 2017/18 Youth Mayors and Councillors representing the various parish council divisions, renovation of the Kingsvale Police Station in Hanover, and disaster preparedness town hall meetings in communities across the country.
In his remarks at Jamaica House, Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, said activities in November will seek to emphasise the role of the Ministry as well as to foster greater involvement by citizens in activities in their communities.
“The significance of what we are doing this year is to emphasise community development a lot more. The Ministry is not there to only clean drains and provide resources to the municipal corporation. Community involvement, building and participation is a critical component of the Ministry’s agenda,” the Minister said.
Mr. McKenzie said the activities will also incorporate national agencies such as the Social Development Commission (SDC) and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to educate citizens on critical matters that affect them.
Representing the Prime Minister, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, congratulated the Ministry for the initiative, which, he noted, will assist in tackling issues at the grass-roots level.
“This is a Ministry that is often overlooked by the wider public. It is a critical ministry that ensures that government programmes reach the community level,” he said.
The Month will be observed under the theme ‘Local Governance: the Pathway to Securing Better Communities’.