New amendments have been made to the Constituency Councils Programme.

This was announced by the Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, who was speaking during the swearing???in ceremony for members of the Constituency Councils, last Saturday evening, at the Warrens Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael.

Under the new legislation, Councils may now receive donations from external sources for their activities with the approval of the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry. He noted that the Accounting Officer must be accountable and show that the agreement is clear and transparent.

Mr. Blackett stated that Councillors now have the opportunity to serve more than one term. ???An effective Councillor who is committed to serving well, needs not be restricted to sitting on the council for only two terms maximum as was the case previously. A councillor may now serve for three terms of two years, each consecutively.

???This amendment therefore, demands and seeks to enforce the highest level of commitment and performance from each Councillor, whilst making provision for the release of any Councillor who falls short of the required standards. Councillors??? attendance at meetings is also now linked to the receipt of the stipends that they receive,??? he continued.

Another change to the programme is that of the number of members comprising the council, the maximum number of each council being now 11. This would include one representative who must be appointed by both the Government and the Opposition. ???This change in the configuration of the Councils now reduces the quorum to six persons,??? the Minister added.

Minister Blackett believes that the Constituency Councils Programme is becoming stronger, adding that each council member is committed to serving their country and building on the work of their predecessors.

???It is indeed no idle boast, since some of you here to be sworn in today are returning to serve as Councillors for a second and third term, bringing with you the benefits and enthusiasm of your last experience on the Council.???

The challenges we face are stubborn but not insurmountable. They are social, economic, physical, environmental and even technological in some instances, with various combinations of all of these. However, a spirit of unity among us as we fight for one cause can make a great difference.

The 12 Constituency Councils sworn in on Saturday represented Christ Church East; Christ Church East Central; St. Philip West; St. Philip North; St John; St. Michael South East; St. Michael South; City of Bridgetown; Christ. Church West Central; St. Lucy; St. James South; and St. George North.

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