Yesterday, Mayor Kevin Bernard made his return to the country after participating in the Latin American Mayor’s Conference in Puerto Rico held last week. The summit for government sector professionals gathered Latin America and Caribbean leaders to discuss the challenges of the global economy and to bet on sustainable economic development and the decentralization of power as the new frameworks for participatory governance. Bernard, who represented the Belize Mayor’s Association, told us today that the weeklong sessions was geared at enhancing local government structures and approaches.

Screen_Shot_2015-08-25_at_8.00.16_PMKEVIN BERNARD – Mayor

“What that congress involved is also a time to share ideas, share best practices as you know across the region and as Mayor and in the Belize Mayor’s Association we are always been saying that we need to fight for more autonomy, we need to talk more about decentralization and these are things that were discussed from an international level where we are seeing other municipalities fighting for that same cause in their various countries so over the three days it was a very packed agenda, there were several session that you could have attended; one of the things that I know it was very crucial that was discussed very passionately was the issue of decentralization and more autonomy in local governments because as you know the local governments are the ones that really they are the ones that see the people more and so another area that we touched on is how do you enhance local government? In terms of accessing you residence by the use of technology and those are some of the things that as you may know we try to do from a local level here in Orange Walk and so I went to represent the Mayor’s Association in the sense that what we are doing as a Mayor’s Association in addressing some of these same things among other things like sustainable development but what we are now hearing is about the child friendly initiative and these are the same things from an international region local governments are looking at and so I was privileged to  attend the conference and I think I brought a lot back from that conference a lot of experiences that has been done in other municipalities in Puerto Rico. “Definitely in Puerto Rico and I am very pleased in Puerto Rico has a system in place where their municipal government are almost are reaching that point of full autonomy and where I think a lot of the initiatives getting the people involved participation from your people is what has translated to the development of the country and I really love the ambience there.”

Another conference is scheduled for Mexico City in the coming weeks.

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