Local government is patterned on that of the United Kingdom and the unit of local government is the parish. Responsibility for local government is vested in 12 parish councils and the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, which represents the amalgamation of two parishes. Since 1947, all of the councils (called parochial boards until 1956) have been fully elective, although the members of the House of Representatives from each parish are ex-officio members of the councils. Elections are normally held every three years on the basis of universal adult suffrage.
Local government authorities are responsible for public health and sanitation, poor relief, water supply, minor roads, and markets and fire services. Revenues come largely from land taxes, supplemented by large grants from the central government.