Constituency Councils Needed

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Prime??Minister David Thompson, addressing??the charter dinner and awards ceremony to mark the Lions Club East’s 22nd anniversary??at Accra Beach Resort.

Government has not been spending considerable sums of money on the Constituency Councils programme.

This was reiterated last Saturday by Prime Minister David Thompson in response to claims in a section of the press. He was delivering the feature address at the charter dinner and awards ceremony to mark the Lions Club East’s 22nd anniversary. It was held at Accra Beach Resort.

Mr. Thompson said: "… this year six million dollars was allocated to the programme. And, since the process of electing the right people and in a transparent way to the constituency councils has taken longer than we had anticipated, only a million dollars has been spent so far on the Constituency Councils Programme. And, if a million dollars could put the Barbados economy in difficulties, then it would mean something would have to be wrong."

The Prime Minister added that he believed the Constituency Councils Programme was important " … not because it is a substitute for what any of the service clubs are doing."

But, rather, he pointed out that there was no system in place for citizens to express their views on issues in their communities. Mr. Thompson continued: "There is actually in Barbados, no tier of representation after elections take place and we elect a parliamentary representative that gives ordinary citizens, even people involved in service clubs, the right during the course of that five year period, to have a say at all in anything that has happened in your community. ??

"There is no mechanism for you to call your parliamentary representative to account. There is no mechanism to encourage him in the event ??that he is allocating resources in a partisan way to encourage him to do it in a more transparent?? and accountable way."

The Prime Minister further indicated that Barbados did not have, since the demise of local Government, any intermediary or intercessor on behalf of ordinary citizens. "And the community councils provide an opportunity for some kind of brake to be put on the excesses of what one might term political patronage… I think the constituency councils provide the best opportunities for us to achieve that," he declared.

clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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