The Labour Party’s turn at bat for some form of devolved government to ordinary citizens in community assemblies appears to have found favour in an informal Barbados TODAY survey on the street.
The Thorne Commission on Local Governance, launched to establish “community-based, people participatory governance structures” and give communities a say in local and national matters, has been described as a “great idea”.
But when Barbados TODAY took to the streets to speak to Barbadians, several people also expressed the view that they needed to be further informed on the People’s Assemblies.
Suzette Atherley said she supported the establishment of local governance that represented the “ordinary man”.
“I think it is a good implementation because if you have concerns within your community or parish and you are not in a position to speak with your representative personally, you can go to the assembly . . . then we have a collaboration in the community, togetherness more or less,” Atherley told Barbados TODAY.
She expressed the hope that the assembly would converse with the people in the community and give Government feedback on policies before they were implemented.
Although he supported the concept, a Warrens supermarket shopper said she wanted to see the mandate of the Government’s proposed “People’s Assemblies” and Thorne Commission properly outlined first.
He said: “I have realised with this government that they have a lot of good ideas but they implement things too fast and then they have to take a step back and reassess what they want to implement.
“They had to push back the ban on the plastics, they had to rethink for the bus fare.
“So I really hope they would take the time to work out the intricate details before they execute because they are going to be wasting resources if we just do things blindly.”
“I think it is great to have an intermediary body between Government and the citizens.”
The commission’s chairman, Government backbench parliamentarian and prominent lawyer, Ralph Thorne, QC, disclosed on Wednesday that 20 People’s Assemblies will be organised in the nation’s 11 parishes.
Unlike the last administration’s constituency councils, the assemblies’ members will be elected and their mandate will cover a cross-section of issues, he said.