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Monday 20 May 2019
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Letters to the Editor

Give local govt bodiesrespect in the election

THE EDITOR: I heard Prime Minister Rowley on national TV saying, in answer to a question about the upcoming local government election, that his government has been in power since September 9, 2015, and an election result is an indication of the performance of the Government. I am assuming that he is referring to the national government.

This again is an illustration of an underestimation and underappreciation of the roles of those who serve tirelessly in local government by this administration and those that went before, including the PP.

During the 2013 local government election, I recommended, I stressed, I begged the then government to give local government it’s due respect and to let the campaign be about local government and its performance, not the national government and its performance.

Also, the government of the day was very unpopular and I thought it was politically prudent to concentrate on local government as opposed to the national one,

For instance, I hoped, warned and wanted the 2013 campaign in Arima to be about the council’s performance during the 2010-2013 term and not the Cabinet and its ministers, but to no avail. Old politics, as usual.

The lack of appreciation and respect for the function and functionaries of local government in my experience was scathing, so much so that at a campaign meeting in 2013 at which I was asked to speak as mayor of Arima, I was allotted a whopping five minutes and they attempted to coach, steer and control the contents of my speech.

I attempted as much as I could to account and speak of the accomplishments of the council. The crowd, knowing first hand how hard and under what limited resources councillors are asked to serve their communities, appreciated my well-deserved praise of the council.

Of course on the second that the five minutes were up, the MC, who was a minister with a small part of his constituency in the Arima borough, harassed and hurried me off the podium. I was chased out of town in my own town.

Before that, however, I was able to recount our successes in the borough, as opposed to the then MP for the Arima constituency, who refused to even mount the stage during the delivery of his local government body’s achievements. Needless to say we went on to lose both the local and general elections of 2013 and 2015, respectively.

I am humbly asking the Prime Minister for the local government election to be about local government, not the national one. The national government’s chance will come.

Either he gives local government bodies the respect and authority they are meant to have under our current system or scrap them all together.

GHASSAN YOUSEPH via e-mail

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