The Local Government Authorities were established to provide equality and effective resource distribution to residents of local communities in Saint Lucia.
In order to ensure that Councils fulfil their obligations to residents, the Government of Saint Lucia through the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment held a Consultation on Thursday 24th September, 2015 to discuss the draft Local Authorities Act. 2015.
This new draft legislation seeks to better empower the Constituency Councils by ensuring that they can generate revenue and gain maximum efficiency in resource management. The new draft legislation also speaks to the transformation of Constituency Councils to Municipalities and Districts Councils.
Ms. Juliana Alfred the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Transformation, Local Government and Community Empowerment provided feedback on the establishment of Municipality Corporation and District Council. “Through funding from CARILED we are at the stage where we have a draft legislation which seeks to better empower the constituency councils to enable them to generate more revenue and manage resources more effectively. We want to get the participant’s feedback on the draft legislation. In the current draft bill what is being proposed is to convert existing town and cities to municipalities. It would function as corporations basically as the CCC operates now. They would have a lot more power than your district councils. The District Councils would have less authority and responsibility.”
The Consultant Mr. Petrus Compton emphasized that the bill is an enabling instrument and that it ensures that all tools needed to boost efficiency at the Local Authority Level will finally emerge. “You need tools to ensure that you manage the process effectively and efficiently. You all have needs that were brought forth at different gatherings. This bill is an enabling instrument that creates a framework within which all of the different tools the Local Government staff needs will eventually emerge. The bill however will create and extend the power and authority to do the other things that are required to make the system work as they want it to.”
The Draft Local Authority Act of 2015 examines the function and powers of council elections and the appointment of councilors.
The Vieux Fort Mayor Mr. Winall Joshua noted the importance of the consultation. “ When concluded will bring us closer to Local Government Authority having more power and it will advance the decentralizing process and make it better in terms of management of Districts and Municipalities in the country.”
The Local Government Reform process has a long history dating back to the 1947 Local Authority Ordinance Act to the existing 2012 Constituency Council Act.