Sunday, November 27, 2022
HomeEditorialGeorge Prime starts the conversation on local government

George Prime starts the conversation on local government

In last week’s Speak up unfiltered programme on Vibes FM, Attorney at Law George Prime who operates in an advisory position at the level of the ministry of Legal Affairs and local government, made it clear that The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has always been committed to local government for Carriacou and Petite Martinique. He blames the party for not having the confidence before to pass it in parliament. So let’s see the commitment of this new administration.

The Lawyer, who was born in Aruba to parents from Carriacou, said that the Grenada Constitution has entrenched local Government for those two islands; Section 107 (1) states there shall be a council for the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. He identified that it was the late Sir Eric Gairy who disbanded local government after attaining local internal self-governance from Britain on the way to becoming an independent state. This, he expressed was a disingenuous decision.

Giving a historical prospective, Prime said that the first talk about local government came in the 1920s and there were formal, vibrant local government. The terms district boards, district commissions and district parish are not unknown to Carriacou. However, in those days the members were only elected if they owned property and after the Second World War that system was abolished.

During the people’s revolutionary government, the secretary of government of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs with responsibility to manage the affairs and the concept of parish councils and local government was introduced. Here the name Lyle Bullen comes to mind.

However, after the Revolution in 1983-1990 Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs was run by Prime Minister Blaize who was born in Carriacou. In 1990 after his death, the Ministry of Local Government was established to mandate the reestablishment of local government, and in 1995 the first draft of the council bill came into being on statute books but it didn’t come into law. That was during the NDC government under Sir Nickolas Brathwaite who was also born in Carriacou; but the NDC lost the next general elections.

1997 saw the creation of the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs as a necessary start to the re-introduction of local government but as Attorney said, that ministry is not to be equated with local government because that was not the intention.

In 2008 NDC again promised to establish the council and the late professor Randy Mc Intosh submitted a working document titled “promoting deliberative and participatory democracy” where he spoke about establishing council in keeping with the constitutional mandate for Carriacou and Petite Martinique and a possible model for Grenada as well. The consultation process started in September 2008 throughout the 11 polling districts in Carriacou and Petite Martinique. A revised version of the bill was submitted by Professor Mc Intosh for further discussion. In January 2009 phase 2 started, and with consultation an interim advisory body was appointed in December where the use of the people’s participation to inform the legislation, took place. The bill was finalized and council act was to be passed in December 2010 with a communication plan to sensitise the public. In the following year district councilors were supposed to be elected to start the process but that didn’t take place as NDC lost the elections again.

In looking at the feedback from consultations the lawyer shared that The Council must have local autonomy and not mere advisory body; There should be clear delimitation of the council’s function while maintaining synergy with the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique; There must be allocation of funds from central government for local government activities; The revenue collected as a result of projects in Carriacou must be used for local government activities among other things; There must be a clear distinction of the role of the parliamentary representative and minister.

The 2012 bill that Attorney Prime wants passed now, was made up in part by a working document from constitutions from Nevis, Roseau city council Act of 1982, Belize City Act of 2000, Trinidad and Tobago House of Assembly Act, the Barbuda Local government Act. It was sent to the Attorney General. The local government bill is seeking to constitute Carriacou and Petite Martinique as a county and to provide for the establishment, constitutional powers, functions and duties of the Council as an organ of local government to meet the constitutional mandate. It is divided into nine parts and intends to create counties and wards. With 11 polling divisions, a council for each means 11 district councilors. It is contemplated to have chairman and deputy chairman, administrative staff, legal provision and two wards for Petite Martinique. Since local government cuts right through party political lines, he is of the opinion that anybody regardless of the party of support, can sit on a board. Prime said that he sees no legal impediments to stop the process from going forward.

The timeframe for implementation he said, is the Minister’s call as the ball is now in her court. Time will tell on this one!

George Prime starts the conversation on local government

In last week’s Speak up unfiltered programme on Vibes FM, Attorney at Law George Prime who operates in an advisory position at the level of the ministry of Legal Affairs and local government, made it clear that The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has always been committed to local government for Carriacou and Petite Martinique. He blames the party for not having the confidence before to pass it in parliament. So let’s see the commitment of this new administration.

The Lawyer, who was born in Aruba to parents from Carriacou, said that the Grenada Constitution has entrenched local Government for those two islands; Section 107 (1) states there shall be a council for the people of Carriacou and Petite Martinique. He identified that it was the late Sir Eric Gairy who disbanded local government after attaining local internal self-governance from Britain on the way to becoming an independent state. This, he expressed was a disingenuous decision.

Giving a historical prospective, Prime said that the first talk about local government came in the 1920s and there were formal, vibrant local government. The terms district boards, district commissions and district parish are not unknown to Carriacou. However, in those days the members were only elected if they owned property and after the Second World War that system was abolished.

During the people’s revolutionary government, the secretary of government of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs with responsibility to manage the affairs and the concept of parish councils and local government was introduced. Here the name Lyle Bullen comes to mind.

However, after the Revolution in 1983-1990 Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs was run by Prime Minister Blaize who was born in Carriacou. In 1990 after his death, the Ministry of Local Government was established to mandate the reestablishment of local government, and in 1995 the first draft of the council bill came into being on statute books but it didn’t come into law. That was during the NDC government under Sir Nickolas Brathwaite who was also born in Carriacou; but the NDC lost the next general elections.

1997 saw the creation of the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique Affairs as a necessary start to the re-introduction of local government but as Attorney said, that ministry is not to be equated with local government because that was not the intention.

In 2008 NDC again promised to establish the council and the late professor Randy Mc Intosh submitted a working document titled “promoting deliberative and participatory democracy” where he spoke about establishing council in keeping with the constitutional mandate for Carriacou and Petite Martinique and a possible model for Grenada as well. The consultation process started in September 2008 throughout the 11 polling districts in Carriacou and Petite Martinique. A revised version of the bill was submitted by Professor Mc Intosh for further discussion. In January 2009 phase 2 started, and with consultation an interim advisory body was appointed in December where the use of the people’s participation to inform the legislation, took place. The bill was finalized and council act was to be passed in December 2010 with a communication plan to sensitise the public. In the following year district councilors were supposed to be elected to start the process but that didn’t take place as NDC lost the elections again.

In looking at the feedback from consultations the lawyer shared that The Council must have local autonomy and not mere advisory body; There should be clear delimitation of the council’s function while maintaining synergy with the Ministry of Carriacou and Petite Martinique; There must be allocation of funds from central government for local government activities; The revenue collected as a result of projects in Carriacou must be used for local government activities among other things; There must be a clear distinction of the role of the parliamentary representative and minister.

The 2012 bill that Attorney Prime wants passed now, was made up in part by a working document from constitutions from Nevis, Roseau city council Act of 1982, Belize City Act of 2000, Trinidad and Tobago House of Assembly Act, the Barbuda Local government Act. It was sent to the Attorney General. The local government bill is seeking to constitute Carriacou and Petite Martinique as a county and to provide for the establishment, constitutional powers, functions and duties of the Council as an organ of local government to meet the constitutional mandate. It is divided into nine parts and intends to create counties and wards. With 11 polling divisions, a council for each means 11 district councilors. It is contemplated to have chairman and deputy chairman, administrative staff, legal provision and two wards for Petite Martinique. Since local government cuts right through party political lines, he is of the opinion that anybody regardless of the party of support, can sit on a board. Prime said that he sees no legal impediments to stop the process from going forward.

The timeframe for implementation he said, is the Minister’s call as the ball is now in her court. Time will tell on this one!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments