Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Caribbean elections: Belize and Jamaica

26 March 2024

 

As many people around the world are going to the polls this year to choose their national leader, CLGF is continuing to highlight the importance of local elections, many of which are also taking place in 2024. 

 

Local government, as the sphere of government closest to the people, is where the major issues affecting your daily life take place. Housing, education, basic services, the local economy and employment: while national government sets the framework and the laws, it is at community level where these things take shape, reflecting the nature and needs of the local community.

Making history in Belize

Earlier this month in Belize, history was made when the Mayor of Belize City, Bernard Wagner, became the first 3-term Mayor of the old capital. This victory came shortly after his election to take on the stewardship of CLGF as the new Chairperson. With a long association with CLGF, Mayor Wagner will use his in-depth knowledge of the local level to benefit members across the Commonwealth. On 15 March, 2024, the Belize City Council was officially sworn into office to serve the residents of Belize City for the term 2024 to 2027 with full results provided by the Belize Mayors’ Association.

New mayor for Kingston, Jamaica

In Jamaica's local government elections, Councillor Andrew Swaby is the newly installed Mayor of Kingston. Together with Deputy Mayor, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, and councillors representing divisions across the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation they were sworn in at the Statutory Meeting for the Declaration on 12 March.

 

Resilience is on the tip of everyone's tongue with it being the theme of the recent Commonwealth Local Government Conference in Kigali in November; and also of the next meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM), taking place in Samoa at the end of the year. The message from CLGF is loud and clear: local government not only has to be an integral part of the preparations and implementation of resilience, countries need to apply a bottom up approach for an effective outcome. The Caribbean is no stranger to the impact of climate change and natural disasters and we are assured that the experience of such occurences will aid the creation of effective resilience. 

 

We wish all councillors in both countries a successful term of office.

 

 

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