Is the paradigm shift for Local Government an avenue to impose new taxes on a population already burdened with taxes? The paradigm shift must consider the new issues and challenges that Local Government faces in the 21st century. Local Government must become a major element of our democracy and therefore should be written into our Republican Constitution.
This means that Local Government representatives must be competent to forge new alliances, strategies, and partnerships with religious. sporting, cultural, business, women’s groups, trade unions, service organizations, and international philanthropic institutions.
We must seek to twin with major cities and organizations as in this age of globalization such initiatives are imperative. This is the genesis for the new brand of politics our country needs. And in this process, we must aim to transform into a full metropolitan entity with integrated actions: infrastructural, economic, cultural, social, sporting, environmental, and human services.
Our system of Local Government must be driven in such a way as to create a new leadership in all spheres of governance and leadership. There must be a complete overall restoration of both the spirit and the manifestation of politics and people among us. This is how a nation must develop and build itself. Leaders come and leaders go, but the needs of society continue into infinity.
The citizenry continues to clamor for amenities such as access roads, drainage, sporting facilities, streetlights, and health. and several issues that make life nasty, short, and brutish. The people and their challenges must always be our focus. Our approach must always be philosophical, yet pragmatic and humane.
People must be given the opportunity to intervene in their own development and by effecting this model we will be affecting a new model. We will be ushering in meaningful and participatory governance. Each corporation must develop its own development plan and must never lose sight of its intent. Major economic partners must have an input.
Crime prevention must not be swept under the table but must be given serious and universal attention. They must play an integral part in crime prevention and help to rescue our young people from withering away further. We must initiate social and cultural programs for them.
As a matter of urgency, each corporation must establish a professionally organized Communication/Information Unit which will give guidance and advice and be able to give proper guidance and information to the public. The production of a bi-monthly newspaper will educate the public about the workings of the system.
In our effort to bring our system closer to the people, our statutory meetings should be held in different parts of the jurisdiction. Our system of Local Government’s definitive attempts must be to alleviate human suffering at all economic and social costs on the pathway to improving the human condition. This must be the major assignment of any executive council which shared responsibilities. This must be the quintessential role of the Local Government now and beyond.
Intellectual, social, political, and cultural development are indispensable factors for inclusiveness in our society, and there must not be any shying away from this ideal.
All of us here can be regarded as great coordinators of the past, and the present leading to the future, symbolic as a new light leading to a better, secured, and enlightening future, which is recognized as an objective of history. And it is a sign of progress. All leaders must never forget that history is progress through the transmission of acquired skills from one generation to another. It is my fervent aspiration that the new and additional responsibilities will be measured not by the budgetary allocations, but by the way the electorate are treated and respected. We will want value for money.
The continuous chorus of lack of funds must not tear up our eardrums now. And each corporation must be given the required budgetary allocation. This means that the Central Government, and in particular the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, should do away with their abrasiveness now that there is a paradigm shift in the Local Government which they have nurtured, and it is equally their challenge to make this new epoch workable. We must forget the series of reports and commission of inquiries on Local Government since the reign of Dr Eric Williams, starting from 1959. August 14, 2023, will be another new start, with the hope that it works,
Councilors must work hand in hand with several community organizations. They are the emblems of proper and true representation. However, they must not become messengers of MPs.
This paradigm shift must become real and workable by the two tiers of government. It is my fervent hope that this system will be heralded as a political gift to the national citizenry as we approach our Independence Day, August 31, 2003