In the Catalyst’s inaugural issue, I gave an overview of the pathway to a secure and sustainable future for Antigua and Barbuda under a DNA government. There is much more to write about this process which will be discussed in ensuing publications.
Our comprehensive 2040 Vision which represents the DNA’s architectural blueprint for our country’s economic and social redevelopment will be shared more liberally following our imminent and inaugural Congress slated for June 27th, 2021.
This article will highlight our commitment to the establishment of Parish Councils which the DNA will institutionalize in a meaningful manner across our six (6) Parishes – except for the Parish of St. John which will become a Municipality, for obvious reason, headed by a Mayor.
The principle behind this policy is to take Governance to the door steps of our people within their respective communities. Who knows more intimately the concerns and desires of the people more than the people themselves? A DNA Government will exist to serve the people and participatory services must be delivered at their door steps. Our policy prescriptions will give meaning to our aspiration to offer, “A different kind of politics and a new style of Leadership”, along with Quality Service deliverables which the people must experience!
These Parish Councils and Municipality will comprise primarily elected members who will serve for a specified period and whose tenure and performance will be subjected to ongoing reviews by the residents using various assessment tools. Resources – human and capital – will be allocated to enable them to deliver tasks in an efficient and effective manner. We envisage these Parish Councils and Municipality will undertake comprehensive assignments to include the upkeep of parks, sports complexes, senior citizens facilities, schools as well as, the maintenance of roads, water, electricity services working collaboratively with line Ministries. The end goal being to make residents ‘living most comfortable.
Under a DNA Government, our people will experience our motto, “Prosperity For All”!
The establishment of an effective local government regime will bring an immediate end to the culture of hatred and spitefulness exacted by politicians and their minions and the encouraged practice of “check your Minister” which involves begging a Member of Parliament for what taxpayers ought to rightly expect and deserve from their government.
I followed the recent exchanges of the current Sports Minister telling the nation that his government is hesitant about entering into MOUs with community groups to allow them to have oversight of playing/sports fields. He gave some silly excuses referring to an alleged incident which occurred in a certain village. We are all aware that the Ministry of Sports is unable to maintain all existing playing/sports fields due mainly to lack of a willpower, poor organizations and ineffective management. This malaise and the deplorable condition of our playing/sports fields continue to present innumerable challenges to our sports men and women who are unable to develop their talents meaningfully.
As I tried to follow the Minister’s reasoning, I am duty bound to highlight what will obtain under a DNA government:
(1) All MOUs will contain specific responsibilities for the management and upkeep of the playing/sports fields; and
(2) Will include mechanisms for the effective and timely handling of impasses amicably by aggrieved parties.
More importantly, a DNA government will recognize its responsibility to invest in ongoing training of Parish Councilors and Administrators to enhance and augment their skill sets. Quite alarmingly, the ABLP Sports Minister stated that they were adopting hands-off approach to problems like that one he spoke about existing at the community level.
I highlight here that the government has a fiduciary responsibility to ensure all lower-level administrators serving at the community level are adequately trained to effect the work they love and understand their duty to serve the community.
It is evident that the ABLP government is selfish, short sighted, and is not nationalistic but rather, ego centrically political in every respect. Such a disposition is sure recipe for backwardness and confusion as we are constantly experiencing.
Let us as a people confront and acknowledge the proverbial elephant in the room and commit to ridding ourselves of this government once and for all! I invite you to envision that our country can and deserves to be managed and governed better… imagine a society where you are afforded the opportunity to participate meaningfully in nation and community building, where your suggestions are valued… It is possible and with the election of a DNA Government headed by our esteemed Political Leader, Joanne Massiah, along with all our young and matured leaders who will guide the pathway for a secure future for ALL our people!