Prime Minister, David Thompson (second right), Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Urban Development, Dr. Denis Lowe (second left), his Minister of State Anthony Todd (right) and Permanent Secretary, Sonja Welch, listen attentively to the views of the audience at a recent Constituency Council meeting at the Lodge School
Government’s proposed 30 Constituency Councils, which are being created “to bring about good governance in the development of Barbados”, have a framework and there are certain parameters which Barbadians need to be mindful of and to which they must add their suggestions.
That is according to Team Leader of the Project Advisory Team for the implementation of the Constituency Councils, Dr. Ivan Henry.
Stating that the Constituency Councils must be based on the geographical region known as the constituency and not the parish, community or district, Dr. Henry said that they (the Councils) would be mandated to interact with the community and deal with everyday issues as they emerge.
He indicated that the representatives of the two main political parties, the church and civil society organisations would be represented on the Constituency Councils, and organisations and community leaders would be invited to nominate representatives for consideration to serve in a voluntary capacity on the Councils.
Stressing that the membership of each Council would be small and workable, Dr. Henry remarked: “We don’t want a Council with a hundred people sitting on it. We are thinking more perhaps between 10 and 15.”
According to the Team Leader, the Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Urban Development “will ratify the final composition of each Council based on clearly articulated principles” and “a Department of Constituency Empowerment will be set up in the Ministry to provide support to the Constituency Councils and to deal with wider constituency empowerment issues”.
Funding for the Constituency Councils will be channelled through the Ministry and each Council will hold two public meetings in a year, at which reports will be presented on the work done in the constituency for the residents.
Adding that the details still needed to be worked out, Dr. Henry is encouraging Barbadians to come out to the scheduled town hall meetings and make their contribution to assist in bringing about the final composition of the 30 Constituency Councils.
It is intended that six Councils will be established by September 30 this year, with 24 following soon thereafter.