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Montague: Election delay is admission of failure

Published:Monday | July 13, 2015 | 7:00 AM
Robert Montague
Justice Minister Mark Golding.
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Opposition Senator Robert Montague on Friday outlined a litany of management deficiencies within the nation's parish councils and argued that they are the real reason the Government has sought to delay the holding of local government election.

The Senate on Friday passed two bills which will allow the election, which was due at the end of June, to be delayed until next December.

The House of Representatives has already passed the bills.

The Government said the election is being pushed back to allow for local government reform as well as for the settling of boundary issues in Portmore, St Catherine.

"We want to have the reforms in place so that persons who are putting themselves forward as candidates know the regime that they are going to be governed by. It may also attract persons who may otherwise not have been interested in serving as a councillor," said Senator Mark Golding, minister of justice, while piloting the debate.

But for Montague, who, as minister twice piloted bills in 2010 for the postponement of local government election, delaying the polls is an admission by the Government that it is seeking additional time to make a positive impression on the job.

"They have failed to effectively manage the parish councils and they have never been in a worst state. If this government had any achievements to even whisper about, they and their apologists would shouting up a storm. By postponing the election the government is acknowledging that they have failed. They will now use the time to try and achieve something," Montague said.

The governing People's National Party controls all local authorities having won by a 2:1 margin in the last local government election held in March 2012.

Montague argued that all the parish councils, apart from Manchester, Westmoreland and the KSAC, have failed the people.

"The towns have never been more dirty, the drains are blocked, chaos on our streets, markets in a poor condition, public sanitary conveniences not working but more attendants are being paid.

"They have failed the people and that is why they don't want the people to pronounce judgment," he added.