Local survey finds a majority of Bahamians believe in the benefits of Local Government

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Rise Bahamas, ORG Bahamas and One Bahamas, partners of the Imagine Local Government Campaign, held a launch on April 12, 2022, at the Margaritaville Beach Resort. They continue to educate on Local Government for New Providence and strengthening of it in the Family Island. Shown in the photo from L-R are Terneille Burrows, founder of Rise Bahamas, Dr Nicolette Bethel, professor at UB and team member of the Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) 2019, Denise Major, board member, Rise Bahamas and Founder, The Empowerment Group, and Matt Aubry of ORG Bahamas, also a member of the LGAC 2019. Photo by Azaleta Ishmael-Newry

A national survey has found that most Bahamians are in support of local government and believe that it allows for better governance in several key areas. The randomized, population-weighted telephone survey of 979 residents in The Bahamas was conducted between February 17th and April 11th , 2022. Rise Bahamas, a local NGO and advocacy group, contracted Public Domain to explore the level of national awareness and support for Local Government. Of those surveyed, 82% were registered voters.

Rise Bahamas Founder, Terneille Burrows, believes that the findings indicated the need to have a deeper, sustained national dialogue. “With one third of Bahamians unaware of local government, we were still able to see healthy support in several areas. As more people become more familiar with the objectives through our Imagine Local Government Campaign, we anticipate greater support.”

In April 2022, Rise Bahamas launched their campaign because they believe that community- specific governance will bring the government ‘closer to the people.’ Additionally, the capital would benefit from a layer of governance below the Central Government. Furthermore, the Family Island local government entities already operating, could use strengthening.

“Even with the conversation usually focused on the Family Islands, 53% of respondents believed that local government would benefit New Providence as well,” said Burrows. “We hope that the relevant stakeholders will take into account these findings and consider building on the work that has already been done.”

Burrows also stresses, “We believe that the work of the Advisory Committee is valuable and should not be in vain. There was a lot of research and public consultation conducted to produce the final report. That report and this survey simply supports what we already know; Bahamians want local government, and they believe that it will lead to better governance.”

Rise Bahamas, along with its campaign partners, The Organization for Responsible Governance (ORG) and One Bahamas have committed their efforts to facilitating great public awareness of the benefits of local government. The ‘Imagine Local Government’ campaign is made possible by grant funding from Templeton Religion Trust.

Members of the public who want to learn more about local government and the work Rise Bahamas is doing throughout the archipelago can visit the organization’s website at http://www.risebahamas.net.