#Bahamas, September 26, 2017 – Nassau – The Minnis Administration is committed to introducing some form of Local Government to New Providence, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis said Monday. Prime Minister Minnis said preliminary studies have already begun to assess the feasibility of introducing some form of municipal governance in New Providence. The preliminary studies were conducted through an Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-sponsored project.
A number of public and private agencies have already been engaged in the exercise with additional public engagement scheduled for “sometime in October.” Prime Minister Minnis also announced that sub-offices of the Office of the Prime Minister will be established in Eleuthera, Andros and Exuma to better coordinate and improve the functioning of Government.
The Prime Minister said Local Government Boards will also be consulted on major projects under consideration by the Central Government and that the Central Government will review the budgets of Local District Councils and where possible, increase funds for District Councils.
“We will review the effectiveness of Local Boards including those of Road Traffic, Hotel Licensing, the Town Planning Board and others. Consideration will also be given to the creation of local tourism development boards which will make recommendations on the tourism project on each island as well as on marketing and other areas,” Prime Minister Minnis added.
Delivering the keynote address at the Official Opening Ceremony of the Department of Local Government’s Leadership Training Conference at Melia Nassau Beach resort, Cable Beach, Prime Minister Minnis said his Administration will continue to strengthen the Department of Local Government “so that your needs can be met in a more efficient manner and the work of the people can be better served.”
“The Central Government has high expectations of you. We will need your strong, leadership skills, creativity and resourcefulness to bring about the transition and transformation of our Family Islands.
“I am keenly aware of the tremendous sacrifice you make in the performance of your duties. I am also aware of the challenge you face in carrying out your duties and responsibilities. May I encourage you to not just point out the challenges you face, but also to accompany them with suggestions, remedies and workable solutions,” Prime Minister Minnis added.
Local Government was established in the Family Islands in 1996 as a means of devolving authority from the Central Government. It represents a deepening of democracy that is intended to bring government closer to the people. It is further intended to empower the people in the governance of their communities.
Local Government Councils are responsible for the general health and sanitation of the communities they manage; street cleaning, maintenance of road verges and ditches; collection and removal of refuse from public places; upkeep, maintenance and establishment of monuments, cemeteries, children’s playgrounds, recreation grounds, parks, public gardens, open spaces, beaches and sport, cultural and other leisure centres.
Their areas of responsibility also include: the maintenance of proper road signs and road markings; establishment and maintenance of pedestrian and parking areas; protection of school children in the vicinity of schools; naming and renaming of streets; upkeep and maintenance of public buildings, local ports, docks, harbours, wharfs and jetties.
By: Matt Maura (BIS)