Khan: No local government reform before elections

Monday, November 4, 2019 - 14:15

Pic­turte Rishi Ra­goonath

De­spite lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form be­ing a 2015 elec­tion promise of the Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment, the leg­is­la­tion that would give more au­ton­o­my to mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions will not be ready ahead of the De­cem­ber 2 Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Elec­tions.


Peo­ple’s Na­tion­al Move­ment as­sis­tant cam­paign man­ag­er Franklin Khan told re­porters yes­ter­day that the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Re­form Bill, which seeks to amend the Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion’s Act, the Prop­er­ty Tax Act and six oth­ers, is cur­rent­ly be­fore a Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee of Par­lia­ment.

“The chances are the leg­is­la­tion will not be passed be­fore the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions. Hav­ing said that, for over four decades, suc­ces­sive ad­min­is­tra­tions have been promis­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment re­form.

It is this ad­min­is­tra­tion that has suc­cess­ful­ly done it and I was in­stru­men­tal in that due to the con­sul­ta­tions when I was the Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment. 

“I think it is good leg­is­la­tion and it will be passed, prob­a­bly short­ly af­ter the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions with procla­ma­tion claus­es in which it will be rolled out over the next cou­ple of years,” Khan said.

Khan said it re­mains one of the Gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­i­ties. Asked whether he be­lieves there will be a back­lash at the polls for fail­ing to im­ple­ment the re­form be­fore elec­tions, he said the leg­is­la­tion was com­plex, but this PNM was the on­ly Gov­ern­ment to bring the leg­is­la­tion to Par­lia­ment.

Last Sat­ur­day, the Move­ment for So­cial Jus­tice pre­sent­ed its slate of can­di­dates to over­throw the UNC and PNM.

The UNC is ex­pect­ed to present their can­di­dates in Cou­va on Sun­day. Khan said the PNM will al­so launch its cam­paign at the Queen’s Park Sa­van­nah, Port-of-Spain this Sun­day and presents its can­di­dates.

Yes­ter­day, the PNM can­di­dates did a sim­u­la­tion in prepa­ra­tion of nom­i­na­tion day at the var­i­ous Elec­tions & Bound­aries Com­mis­sion of­fices.

With less than a month for its cam­paign, he said the PNM has been car­ry­ing out the ground­work for sev­er­al months and the mass meet­ings will be­gin to­day with a meet­ing at the Ex­o­dus pan yard in Tu­na­puna.

“I think we want to go one or two steps ahead. You nev­er con­test an elec­tion, es­pe­cial­ly the PNM, hop­ing to do just as you did the last time. You al­ways want im­prove­ment. I see no rea­son why we can­not im­prove on our per­for­mance from 2016.”

While var­i­ous UNC mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions have claimed that the Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment was with­hold­ing funds to turn the peo­ple against their rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Khan said funds were shared even­ly through­out all cor­po­ra­tions.

And as the UNC places more em­pha­sis on mar­gin­al cor­po­ra­tions, such as San­gre Grande, he said the PNM al­ready has the lead­er­ship there and hoped to in­crease its seats there.


Reporter: Kevon Felmine