Minister Sweeting announces Local Government Month events

Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs, the Hon. Clay Sweeting reads the Proclamation deeming the month of March 'Local Government Month.' Also pictured: Permanent Secretary, David Cates (seated right). The event was held on Tuesday, 28th February, 2023. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna).

The month of March will be observed as ‘Local Government Month’ following a Proclamation by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis.  Minister of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs the Hon. Clay Sweeting, read the Proclamation on Tuesday, February 28, 2023.  Events will observe the Bahamas Independence Jubilee year.

During his speech, Minister Sweeting said that Local Government is a systtem of governance to which local residents in the Family Islands offer themselves for service. He said that it also an opportunity for local residents to vote for and elect local residents for a three-year term in office.

“Over the years, Local government has evolved from a system of Resident Justices in 1867 to the Out Island Administration Act in 1968 when the local board of works came into being to what is currently known as local government,” said Mr. Sweeting.

He noted that local government officially came into effect in l996 with the the Local Government act; It is anticipated that there will be modern amendments to meet the needs of local Family Island communities with the submission by the Local Government Review Committee. He said the familiar titles of Chairman and Commissioner have been replaced by Chief Councilor and Family Island Administrator respectively.

Currently, there are over 300 staff and 512 local government practitioners.

“March is the month in which we pause and educate the wider community on what we do and what the system is all about. It is also a time in which we pause to celebrate our accomplishments and attempt, in some small measure, to say ‘thank you’ to all those persons who give life to local government each day.”

During the month, a long list of activities will be held in the 33 districts. All districts will commemorate the event with a church service and flag raising ceremony. Events on New Providence will include: a visit to the House of Assembly, a Fun Run Walk and Health Screening on 4th March; a church service on 5th March; A flag raising ceremony on 6th March; A luncheon celebrating women in local government on 15th March and a gala banquet on 25th March. There will also be a Best District Competition. 

By BETTY VEDRINE/Bahamas Information Services