Categorized | National News

Parliamentarians Debate Amendments to Local Gov’t Act

Family Island administrators were yesterday admonished to put all those hired since 2012 on contracts.

Leading debate on amendments to the Local Government Act in the House of Assembly yesterday, Local Government Minister V. Alfred Gray made it clear that this group of workers will be very disappointed as they will not become permanent by virtue of working for the council.

“Local government councils have been appointing people left, right and centre at their whim and fancy,” he said. “The danger has been that these people unsuspectingly believe that they’re employed by the government.”

“If they hire you, they pay you. You do not work for the government. Do not expect that one day you will be placed on the public payroll. It is not going to happen. If you want to work for the government, you’re going to have to apply like everyone else. New councilors ought to have the right to appoint people they believe they can work with.”

As for the amendments the government is pushing to have passed before local government elections this summer, these include creating several administrators of different grades similar to customs officers.

“All of them will be called administrators…but their grades will be based on their qualifications or seniority,” Minister Gray explained.

The government is also looking to appoint a director and deputy director, a move that is deemed necessary.

“I expect the director to be someone who understands Family Island administration, someone who is at the top of the administration,” the minister said, adding that the salaries of directors have not been included in the bill, but that it is expected that the Department of Public Service will look at the pay scale.

There is also a proposed amendment on the table that speaks to the appeals process.

As it stands, all appeals lie with the minister.

However, the amendment will see to it that the Local Government Committee’s appeal will be the Local Government Council and that the council’s appeal will be the minister.

Furthermore, grievances must be appealed within 15 days.

According to Minister Gray, another amendment will allow for occasional licenses or provisional licenses to be put back in the hands of the local government councils.

Local government elections are slated for June 23.

This will be followed by elections for chief councilors.

The House of Assembly resumes on Wednesday, April 23.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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