Local Councilors urged to work with government to restore GB island

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The City of Freeport Councilors were sworn in and presented with their certificates and pins on Wednesday at New Life Community Church. Among those present were: Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey; Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Leonardo Lightbourne; Leader of the Opposition, Michael Pintard; Neil Campbell, Acting Director of Local Government and Supt. Wendell Clarke who was representing ACP Theophilus Cunningham. Also shown are Chief Councilor Frazette Gibson, Deputy Chief Councilor Dr. Charlene Reid, Rashad Adderley, Former Chief Councilor Kendal Culmer II, Clifton Clear-Francis, Bernard Grant, Omes Lockhart-Lightbourne and Edwin Strachan. (BIS Photo/Andrew Miller)

By Robyn Adderley

Local Government Councilors were on Wednesday evening urged to work along with government to deal with the issues facing their communities. The statement was made by Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey. The Councilors were sworn in and presented with their certificates during a ceremony at New Life Community Church. The ceremony was originally scheduled to be held on the lawn of the Harold DeGregory Building, which houses the Ministry for Grand Bahama but was changed due to inclement weather.

Minister Moxey noted, it is evident that Bahamians want to be a part of the governance of the country by the 600 people who nominated for the Local Government Elections.

She said, “In your role as Chief Councilors and Council members, you are charged to be diligent and competent in the execution of your duties; and although our governmental roles may differ, we have much in common – we must be a representative and an advocate for the people we were elected to serve.

“We must be mindful of the issues that face our communities and find innovative ways to positively impact lives and meet the needs of the people.

“We must commit to using every resource available at our disposal to get the job done; but most importantly, we must remember to serve those who elected us with compassion.”

Minister Moxey added that as representatives of their local communities the government needs their assistance to get things done. She quoted Prime Minister Philip Davis saying he believes in “collective ability to solve our hardest challenges”, because “as Bahamians, we have the talent, ingenuity and determination required to lift people up and transform our country”.

“Councilors,” she said, “I support the Prime Minister’s vision for The Bahamas,and I believe that now more than ever, we must unite at all levels of government – Cabinet, Parliament, Judicial and Local, to transform our country and our island.

“The rebuilding and restoration of Grand Bahama must be a shared vision between government agencies and stakeholders, in partnership and working together to efficiently and effectively bring about the much-needed relief residents have been waiting for.”

With her Ministry having been charged with working with NGO’s, government agencies and businesses on the island to ensure the needs of residents are met along with the growth and development of Grand Bahama, Minister Moxey referred to the “Partnerships for Development” programme which will begin shortly as the Ministry for Grand Bahama has been mandated to partner with NGO’s, businesses, other government agencies and the community, at large, to assist with meeting the basic needs of the residents. It will assist with the establishment of Half-Way Homes for Battered Women and Girls, as well as addressing issues for those still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

“The rollout of our pilot programme, the “Grand Bahama Clean” initiative which began on January 31st, is the beginning of a holistic approach to community cleanup that will occur throughout Grand Bahama.”

“These efforts are key in restoring the dignity of our people and lifting their sprits, so they can hold their heads up high, in spite of the challenges many have experienced.

“Our administration is hard at work promoting our tourism, healthcare and industrial sectors, and seeking out investors who are the right fit for Grand Bahama, and who will appreciate its beauty, its diversity and its people.” Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, Leonardo Lightbourne gave a brief overview on the purpose of Local Government. He said it is designed to bring governance closer to the people and small-scale projects no longer need to be dealt with by Central Government, such as parks, drains, graveyards, and other such items. As Councilors, he said, they should also be all-inclusive, fair and open as a body.

Leader of the Official Opposition, the Hon. Michael Pintard, was also present for the ceremony. He told the Councilors that they have chosen a “difficult job” as there are always things to be done for the people they have been elected to represent. To be successful, he added, they will require teamwork and moving in the same direction towards a common goal. Mr. Pintard added that “neither party has the monopoly on good ideas” and they should work across the political divide to achieve their goals. In a show of support, Councilors from East and West Grand Bahama, as well as Sweeting’s Cay were present for the ceremony.

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