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What is the role of the mayor in Jamaica?

What is the role of the mayor in Jamaica?

RESPONSE: by Aneisha Dobson | Associate Writer



While the Prime Minister and Members of Parliament are usually the main subjects in topics of discussion in the Jamaican political circle, the Mayor also has an important role in Jamaica's political affairs.

Perhaps unlike other jurisdictions, Jamaica doesn’t have one mayor. In actuality, there are fourteen mayors in Jamaica! One for each Municipal Corporation.

But, before we jump into the role of the mayor let me give you a little insight into the Local Government setup.

The Local Government


The Local Government is an arm of Government under the umbrella of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, currently under the leadership of The Honourable Desmond McKenzie.

This ministry functions through the five agencies and fourteen local authorities. However, I’ll only focus on the local authorities.

Local authorities are entities at the local level through which the Department of Local Government carries out its functions within communities.

There are fourteen local authorities in Jamaica:
  1. Portmore City Municipality
  2. Portland Municipal Corporation
  3. Clarendon Municipal Corporation
  4. St. Thomas Municipal Corporation
  5. Hanover Municipal Corporation
  6. Manchester Municipal Corporation
  7. Westmoreland Municipal Corporation
  8. Kingston & St. Andrew Municipal Corporation
  9. St. Elizabeth Municipal Corporation
  10. St. James Municipal Corporation
  11. St. Ann Municipal Corporation
  12. St. Catherine Municipal Corporation
  13. St. Mary Municipal Corporation
  14. Trelawny Municipal Corporation
These 14 Local Authorities conduct various activities and hold several responsibilities.

Here are a few:
  • Developing, managing and maintaining infrastructure and public facilities such as parochial roads, water supplies, drains and gullies, parks, recreational centres, markets, abattoirs, pounds, cemeteries, transportation centres and public sanitary conveniences.

  • Provision of Local services such as Poor Relief, Public Cleansing, Public Health, Street Lighting, Social Water.

  • Regulating powers in respect of building and planning approvals and development centre, licensing of trades and businesses, street parking, control of public vending centres.

  • Co-ordinating inter-agency collaboration among Non-governmental organizations (N.G.O.s) community based organizations (C.B.O.s) and government agencies which operate in the parish and are engaged in the delivery of local service or local development.

  • Support of national policies/development of programmes at the local level.

  • Spearhead plans and initiatives for orderly, balanced and sustainable development of the parish as a whole and major towns in particular for boosting economic activity and local wealth creation in the parish.

  • Organize and stage civic and special events to mark local and national commemorative occasions.

So, what role does the mayor play in all of this?

Well, the Local Authority has two arms: the political arm the administrative arm.

Now, the Mayor is the head and holds the responsibility of chairing the political arm.

He/she is also responsible for determining policies within his/her respective council. Therefore, the Mayor holds an important leadership role in the Municipal Council and is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the council is carrying out its functions effectively and efficiently.

In addition, the mayor is also seen as the figurehead for the council and represents his/her respective Municipal Council at special functions, meeting and usually announces special projects within the community.

What is a Jamaican Mayor's Professional Attire?


The professional attire or Mayoral attire of Jamaica was modelled to resemble that of the United Kingdom's. This consists of a red and black robe with gold trimmings at the hem. A white JABOT(lace collared shirt is worn underneath the robe) and finally the Livery Collar is layered over the robe.

This is usually the mayor's attire for ceremonial events, however, if they opt not to wear the gown and JABOT the Livery Collar can be worn over his suit as an insignia of the office he holds.

Mayors of Jamaica


Listed below are the current individuals who hold the role of Mayor in each Municipal Corporation in Jamaica.
  • His Worship the Cllr Mayor Leon Thomas – Portmore City Municipality

  • His Worship The Mayor Cllr Paul Thompson - Portland Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Cllr Winston Maragh - Clarendon Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Cllr. Michael Hue - St. Thomas Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Cllr Donovan Anthony Mitchell - Manchester Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Councillor Bertel Moore - Westmoreland Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Councillor Delroy Williams - Kingston & St. Andrew Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Councillor Derrick Sangster - St. Elizabeth Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Councillor Leeroy Williams - St. James Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Councillor Sydney Stewart - St. Ann Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Councillor Norman Scott - St. Catherine Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Councillor Richard Creary - St. Mary Municipal Corporation

  • His Worship The Mayor Councillor Collen Gager – Trelawny Municipal Corporation
Remember knowledge is power. Share this information with someone you know.

I also recommend you read, Marie Atkins, Former Mayor of Kingston & St. Andrew.

Until next time..

AD

References:
  • About us. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ministry of Local Government & Community Development: http://www.localgovjamaica.gov.jm/aboutus.aspx#
  • Mayors. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ministry of Local Government & Community Development: http://www.localgovjamaica.gov.jm/mayors.aspx
  • Structure, Role & Functions of the Local Authority. (n.d.). Retrieved from Ministry of Local Government & Community Development: http://www.localgovjamaica.gov.jm/localauthorities.aspx?c=functionqq
    First Poste: January 2019. Edited: March 2020

Editor's Note
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