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  • Debate on the Local Governance Act 2015 commenced during Tuesday’s (October 27) sitting of the House of Representatives.
  • Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, who is piloting the Bill, said it is intended to create the framework within which local authorities will operate with greater scope and autonomy.
  • Minister Arscott noted that the Bill is one-third of landmark pieces of legislation known as the “three strategic laws,” which includes the Local Government Financing and Financial Management, and the Local Government Unified Service and Employment Bills.

Debate on the Local Governance Act 2015 commenced during Tuesday’s (October 27) sitting of the House of Representatives.

Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, who is piloting the Bill, said it is intended to create the framework within which local authorities will operate with greater scope and autonomy.

“Additionally, it will provide new and clear standards of accountability for local authorities, and place extensive public consultation and participation at the heart of the new environment of governance,” he added.

The Bill provides for establishment of a framework to accommodate the various types of local authorities; expand their mandate to include sustainable development and the maintenance of civic order; create accountability and transparency mechanisms for local authorities; define the role and relationship between the administrative and political organs of local authorities; and empower civil society and communities in the governance process.

Minister Arscott noted that the Bill is one-third of landmark pieces of legislation known as the “three strategic laws,” which includes the Local Government Financing and Financial Management, and the Local Government Unified Service and Employment Bills.

He said the three Bills, when enacted, will complement the Constitution (Amendment) (Local Government) Act 2015 and provide the requisite legislative tools needed by local authorities to facilitate their “optimal responsiveness.”

“We recognise the growing disconnect between the community, especially with our young people, and the governance structures. This new paradigm shift will enhance the scope and powers of the elected officials and local authorities to govern their respective jurisdictions,” Mr. Arscott said.

The debate is slated to continue when the House of Representatives reconvenes on November 3.