Local Government bill goes to JSC

Why doesn’t Op­po­si­tion Leader Kam­la Per­sad-Bisses­sar want cor­po­ra­tion may­ors and coun­cil­lors to get full-time pay?

That’s the ques­tion At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Faris Al-Rawi posed in Par­lia­ment dur­ing Wednes­day night’s de­bate on the Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tions Amend­ment Bill, com­mon­ly known as the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Re­form Bill.

Af­ter de­bate MPs agreed to for­ward the bill to a Joint Se­lect Com­mis­sion— which Gov­ern­ment had ini­tial­ly said it would do. The team must re­port on the bill by Sep­tem­ber 27. The Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment term ends in No­vem­ber. Elec­tions are ex­pect­ed be­tween that time and Feb­ru­ary 2020 lat­est. The re­form will ap­ply to the new term.

Al-Rawi not­ed Per­sad-Biss­esar, in an ear­li­er de­bate, had ob­ject­ed to the bill’s pro­pos­als for full-time posts and pay for may­ors and coun­cil­lors. Such of­fi­cers are cur­rent­ly part-time and on­ly re­ceive a stipend.

The AG said the time for full-time coun­cil­lors had long passed and and full-time posts and re­mu­ner­a­tion were de­served as peo­ple were al­ready op­er­at­ing in a full-time way.

He added, “We have to have re­spect for the peo­ple who serve by pay­ing them ap­pro­pri­ate­ly so we can avoid sit­u­a­tions like where peo­ple take bribes while in Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment. So greedy are they that they’re pre­pared to thief even $1,500 from some­one, bring any bribe... gimme, gimme, gimme! Some peo­ple even call­ing it the Ma­yaro bribe.”

Reporter: Gail Alexander