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Fiji: Mayors Advised To Take Proactive Roles

Mayors advised to take proactive roles

Mayors have to take proactive roles in addressing the emerging economic and social challenges faced nowadays, says Mr Terry Parker, the Regional Adviser for Commonwealth Local Government Forum Pacific Project (CLGF).

He made these comments at the recent Mayors Forum held last week at the Outrigger Resorts in Sigatoka.

Mr Parker said the leadership roles of the mayors have become crucial in addressing the various challenges faced by our communities.

"The leadership role of the Mayor is becoming increasingly important and new levels of creativity are needed particularly in addressing challenges commonly throughout the world such as informal settlement, shelter, employment, infrastructure and climate change," Mr Parker said.

He said the roles of the mayors have changed and have become quite different over the years.

"Today's mayor has slightly different and probably more complicated role. He or she remains the 'first citizen' but a multitude of responsibilities come with this position including governance, to Chair the Council, maintain effective external relations, support the community, good communication and ceremonial duties," he said.

Mr Parker has urged the councillors to take the opportunities offered by the Fiji Local Government Association (FLGA) to engage more with the Mayors network, learn from each other and work together as a team.

"I commend you to make use of this network Mayors through your Association to make the journey together and assist each other to achieve what has been agreed. Successful outcomes will only be achieved through determination, innovation and commitment," he advised the Mayors.

However, Mr Parker said the opportunities to transform local government in Fiji to meet the challenges of the 21st century also needs to be seized.

"The world is changing and local government cannot be left behind. As in most colonial countries, local Government in Fiji operates in a legislative and operational framework left behind by the British. This was appropriate at the time and has served most countries well for many years.

"But one would not recognise the system of local government now operating in Britain in terms of the legislation and practical operations. Not to say we want the colonial days back, but the world has moved on," Mr Parker said.

Therefore he said that any reform process must be inclusive, interactive and transparent.

"Any product should ensure local government is inclusive and works effectively with local citizens and communities to sustainable ways to meet their needs in a responsible and responsive way aimed at improving the quality of lives, he added.


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