This Act provides with respect to local government in Jamaica. The principal objects of this Act are to- (a) establish a rational framework with regard to the different types of Local Authorities Including municipal corporations); (b) broaden the mandate of Local Authorities by making them responsible for good governance, sustainable development and maintenance of civic order within their jurisdictions; (c) enhance the capacity of Local Authorities to more effectively manage local affairs; (d) ensure accountability and transparency on the part of Local Authorities; (e) define the roles of, and relationship between, the political and administrative organs of Local Authorities; (f) facilitate the participation and empowerment of civil society and communities in local governance processes; (g) broaden the democratic process to ensure full participation in the local governance system and promote greater inclusiveness and equity for all sectors of the society. In carrying out its functions, a Local Authority may- (a) enter into joint venture relationships, public private partnerships and other such arrangements where these are deemed advantageous.The Act defines also powers of Local Authorities with respect to acquisition and disposal of land in their area of administration. The Lands Clauses Act is, with certain exceptions, incorporated with this Act, and shall be construed so that a Council shall be deemed to be the promoters of an undertaking in the meaning of that Act.
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The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually increased its independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies.
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