(Roseau, Dominica) – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt of Dominica will champion the cause for advancing Local Government in the Caribbean. Mayors and councillors representing the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities –CALGA, met in Roseau on 24 -25 May 2013 to discuss the promotion of good governance and local democracy in the Region. The Local Government leaders are offering themselves to serve in a more meaningful way to advance development. CALGA is led by Chief Councillor, Philip McPhee of the Bahamas (South Eleuthera).
CALGA’s President, McPhee pointed out that Local Government is a key part of the state, working at the front line, is closest to the people, and can therefore identify and address development needs and gaps. He called upon CARICOM to give due recognition to Local Government within its institutional framework to enable practical cooperation. Prime Minister Skerritt in response to President McPhee’s call committed to approaching other CARICOM Heads of Government on the matter.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that Local Government authorities in Dominica were delivering services with efficiency, and sometimes with savings. He urged the region’s Local Government leaders to get more involved in the social development of their communities. He also advocated a greater role for Local authorities in community policing and security.
The CALGA President in his address, had earlier stated that Local Government had a central role in ensuring democratic values, basic service delivery, economic growth, resilience, and employment generation through local economic development. In addition, Mr McPhee noted that local authorities had a responsibility to ensure the promotion of inclusive development, environmental sustainability, and protecting local environmental resources. Local Government, he noted, had the benefit of local knowledge and understanding of their environments.
CALGA Executive Committee, Senior Technical Officer, and, ARIAL Coach to CALGA with Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit
CALGA is working closely with other international institutions and has the support of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in seeking a clear legal mandate for the role and functions of local government, including decentralisation with the requisite financial and human resources. There is a critical need to employ modern managerial practices in providing public services to citizens throughput the Region.
The organization is committed to removing the barriers to decentralisation to promote a bottom-up approach, which should include building local skills, staff and leadership capacity. In the spirit of cooperation CALGA will be pursuing partnerships with central governments and civil society organizations.
CALGA is also appealing to development partners to support the strengthening of local government and decentralisation by ensuring that that local government has direct access to development funding for capacity building. They expect to approach the UNDP, OAS, USAID and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom in that regard.
The meeting in Dominica was hosted by Councillor Yoland Jno Jules, CALGA’s PRO and President of DALCA – the Dominica Association of Local and Community Authorities. DALCA was supported by the Ministry of SOCIAL Services, Community Development and Gender Affairs, as well as, the Office of the Prime Minister, with funding from the European Union through its ARIAL project. The ARIAL project is designed to strengthen Local Government in the ACP bloc of countries. It is managed by the UWI in the Caribbean region. CALGA continues with its mandate of “promoting good governance and Local democracy in the Caribbean”