The time for local govt on New Providence is now

Dear Editor,

I’ve been elected to serve three terms in local government. Two of those terms were as chairman of the west township for the Exuma District. Three of those terms at the council level, where decisions are made.

I also served one term as vice president of the Bahamas Association of Local Government Authorities (BALGA) which represents all of the districts in The Bahamas.

During my final term, I was elected 3rd Vice President of CALGA , which represents all of Commonwealth countries in the region.

I was also selected during the 20th anniversary of local government as one of the most outstanding members since the introduction of local government.

I have represented the Bahamas at many conferences and workshops over the years, in places like Uganda, Botswana, Malta, Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad, Dominica and The Bahamas.

After so many conferences and workshops and hearing about successes in highly populated countries like those in Africa and the Caribbean, I know the importance of having a Bahamas where local government is included on New Providence.

How local government will be implemented is a subject for another discussion, but the time when it should be done is now.

Many of the social ills, hardships and persons being left behind are because of the disconnect between those at the top and those at the bottom.

Local government is the only way to bridge that gap regardless of the political party in power.

People will be able to elect someone who they know and trust to be their voice, the persons being elected will know what type of representation is needed for their area and the order of importance.

Districts that share borders can work in partnership on some projects and build better relationships among the people.

Local government is non political; therefore it will get more support from businesses and other NGOs.

Local government working with the members of Parliament for each constituency will become a blessing for those areas.

Some of the functions that are being done through Ministry of Works can now be handled by the local elected officials in their communities, e.g. town planning, road works, parks.

To put town planning in the hands of each district council will speed up the building process, therefore creating more jobs and stopping the construction of illegal buildings.

The members of Parliament can now focus on some of the projects they may have before them, whether local or international.

Local government also needs its own ministry. It requires a lot of attention.

Local government members are not paid at this time, which I also think should change in order to get the best person for the job.

To make a request to a minister who may very well be busy may make them feel neglected; the voice of the people should be heard.

The new ministry that was just formed for the disaster should now be given local government under its portfolio because the quickest and best response comes from the locals.

On the Family Island, local government is pretty much involved in everything from fun to disaster.

I also think local government being implemented can be used as a stepping stone to select and elevate our leaders.

We have a system in place now where we bring persons from doctors’ or lawyers’ offices to lead us.

I think the days are gone where we guess our way through politics. The people will continue to suffer and this country will lag behind our neighbors.

To connect from the top is not easy or sometimes not possible. We need a system where we connect from the bottom up.

Whether you are the leader for the FNM, PLP or DNA you will be able to look at what local government representatives are doing, speak to persons on the ground and start your vetting process to bring him or her into your political party.

You have someone who knows how to connect to the people, know their needs and the strength of most people in terms of their ability to do things.

Before local government elections in June 2020, I think the government should take a big step in getting local government started here on New Providence.

It will only make us strong as a people and as a country.

Glenn Davis

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