Instituting Local Government in the State of Grenada is not on the front burner of the Keith Mitchell Administration.
The question of having Local Government put in place was raised during a government constituency forum held at the MacDonald College in St. Patrick’s last week Tuesday.
The question was shot down by the Prime Minister who declared that Local Government is already taking place on the island at the level of the constituency.
“We may not have a formal law on Local Government, but in fact, we are practicing a lot of Local Government in the country,” he said.
“I hear you, you want to see a formal system of Local Government. Certainly, if you have a good proposal, we’ll look at it, but I don’t want to sit here and tell you we are going to have a formal Local Government system,” he added.
According to PM Mitchell, a lot of the budgetary allocation in different areas is done on the premise of the needs of the constituency.
He said: “The constituency makes the decision on special projects, they make the decision on house repair, they make the decision on many other services”.
The Prime Minister referred specifically to his own constituency of St. George North-west, which he represents in Parliament, which had an allocation of $250,000 for special projects, whereas the two constituencies in St. Patrick’s each had an allocation of $350,000.
This, he said is the reason why his government encourages constituency offices to get the Representative to work with his team in the constituency to bring services from the bottom up to the Parliamentarians and the government.
Section 107 of the Grenada Constitution makes provision for Local Government geared at allowing citizens to participate in the nation’s decision-making process.
Since Grenada’s return to democratic rule of law following the 1979-83 experiment with non-elected Marxist rule, every administration has given a commitment to restore Local government which was abolished under an administration headed by late Prime Minister sir Eric Matthew Gairy.
Local Government was a 2008 election campaign promise of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
Progress towards its implementation included the development of two papers, one coming from former Attorney General, Dr. Francis Alexis, and the other from late Professor of law, Dr. Randolph McIntosh of the University of the West Indies.
During the reign of the Nicholas Brathwaite Administration, Dr. Alexis who is a Constitutional Lawyer developed a Carriacou and Petit Martinique County Council Bill in 1995.
The people of Carriacou and Petit Martinique were already engaged in a series of consultations seeking their input on the Local Government proposal.
A calypso entitled “Local Government Is For You And Me” written and sung by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Carriacou and Petit Martinique, Bernadette Lendore-Sylvester was used to raise the awareness of the people on the issue.