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LETTER OF THE DAY - Low voter turnout reflects dissatisfaction

Published:Wednesday | March 28, 2012 | 12:00 AM


IT TICKLES me to death when the political establishment is surprised because of a low voter turnout. It says that they underestimate the astuteness of the people to see the deception from a distance. It says that they, the political establishment, do not understand the illegitimacy of local governance as currently structured. It says that they are non-reform minded.

The so-called local government guru, Professor Errol Miller, has done very little in terms of reforming the overall structure of local government. He seems to believe that by tinkering here and there, the people will be satisfied. However, the low voter turnout has exposed the dissatisfaction of the people.

As I said before, local government reform must meet three requirements for it to be successful. The first is collaboration - an interrelationship between the central government and the parish/municipal councils. This type of collaboration can be done through an increase and realignment of the counties, Marley County being the addition. It can be realised by positioning the counties as the political entities that foster the growth of four metropolitan regions, four localised public-education systems, four localised health-care systems and four localised county-community college systems. The collaboration would be conducted through the county council that composed of the politically elected councillors and members of parliament within the county.

The second requirement is regulation/enforcement. Local ordinance enforcement is a joke. Just examine how residential neigbourhoods are spoiled with unplanned businesses. Just look at the unclean streets and the ugly signage. Just look at the filth in the nation's capital, Kingston. By focusing on regulation/enforcement, the politically elected parish/municipal councils could be positioned as the 'teeth' of local governance - the entities that enforce the rules.

Increase number of municipalities

The third requirement is implementation/administration. This, I believe, is best done at the very local level. It does not make sense that people in Santa Cruz are locally governed from Black River. Why can't Santa Cruz become a municipality? Why can't we demarcate all the parishes except Kingston, which should function as one municipality - the nation's capital - in five or six municipalities?

My vision for municipalities is that these entities would be a mix of civil/business interests and the politically elected councillors. They would be the entities that implement the small community projects, such as tree planting, drain clearing and overall beautification. They would be the entities where, for example, a one-stop health centre for the entire municipality would be established.

Michael Brown

Washington, DC