The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development will be increasing the funds allocated to the island’s Junior Mayors Programme.
Portfolio Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, made the disclosure during a Youth Mayor’s Forum, which was held at the St. James Municipal Corporation offices in Montego Bay on Wednesday (November 20).
“The allocation (to the Junior Mayors Programme) presently stands at $500,000, and even at $500,000 some of the projects that the junior mayors have come up with (are outstanding),” the Minister said.
“We intend to increase the allowance for the Junior Mayors Programme to $750,000, because the legacy of these projects [will] speak for themselves,” Mr. McKenzie said.
The forum saw junior mayors from across the island giving their take on the theme for Local Government Month: ‘Building resilient communities through local governance’.
Mr. McKenzie lauded the presentations by the junior mayors as well delivered and thoroughly researched.
“Those of us who are in public speaking will tell you that despite how articulate you are, there are times when you become emotional and you cannot get across your message. When I listened to the ease and the level of pronouncements from you the junior mayors, I maintain what I have always said: our future is in the hands of capable young men and women,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister encouraged junior mayors and junior councillors in attendance to continue on the same path of excellence, adding that “your participation here is sending a clear message that not all of our students want what others want… . The majority of you want something that is better”.
The Minister also informed that next year’s youth forum will be held at the Port Antonio Municipal Corporation in Portland.
For his part, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis, noted that the day’s proceedings signalled that “Jamaica’s future is in good hands, the hands of our junior mayors, leaders who I am sure will help to take the island to the next level of prosperity”.
Several Mayors and staff from municipalities across the island, as well as junior deputy mayors, junior councillors and parents, also attended the forum.