Four Local Government Bills passed for the holding of long overdue Local Government elections
After 19 years in the making, parliamentarians from both sides of the House debated and passed the four Local Government Bills, which now clears the way for the holding of the long overdue Local Government elections.
But the passage of the Four Bills was not without its share of political drama.
The Bills were piloted through the National Assembly by Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud.
The first two bills which were the Fiscal Transfer Bill and the Municipal and District Council amendment bill had an easy passage.
But the drama intensified when it came to the Local Government Amendment Bill, which seeks to decentralise financial and administrative powers from the Minister to the local democratic organs, the Government and the opposition found no common ground.
The Bills were presented to the House after it emerged from a Special Select Committee chaired by APNU’s Basil Williams.
AFC Executive member Mosses Nagamotoo told the House that the Bills sought to revolutionise and reform the archaic local Government Laws and that it was time that the power be returned to the people.
An agitated Government Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira said that the Opposition had hijacked the Bills at the Committee stage and included in the proposed legislation, aspects that had not been submitted by the Local Government task force that was eventually disbanded.
The Government maintained that when it came to the Local Government Commission Bill, the only contention was the composition of the commission. However, with the assistance from the Alliance For Change, the Government got its amendment which now sees an eight member commission.
Before the Bills become law they will have to be assented to by President Donald Ramotar.