Monday, December 24, 2012

Rambachan making a difference in local government

Surujrattan Rambachan is getting a reputation of being a workaholic. And his work in his new portfolio as Minister of Local Government is making a significant difference across the country.

Rambachan told the Express newspaper his work in local government is aimed at making corporations more "neighbourly" noting that he sees himself as a manager rather than the minister.

The former mayor of Chaguanas who experienced neglect of local government by the former Patrick Manning PNM administration is determined to turn things around and set a new benchmark during his tenure.

One notable feature so far has been access to public funds. He told the Express for the first time, regional corporations have been able to access money within weeks of the budget passing. For the current fiscal year corporations have already invested half of the annual allocation of $228 million for development works. And he hopes to get more in the mid-term review.

Rambachan also wants changes in how local councils are administered and governed. For example, he wants councillors of the corporations to be attached on a full time basis.

He has also said one of the problems that the present government faces across the board is unprecedented scrutiny.

"I think what has happened is there is a change in people's desire for better governance and people's desire for more transparent government also and you cannot fault the people for that," he told the Express. 

"You have a more educated population, you have a more discerning population. We now live in a global village. That is a reality. What people see happening in other parts of the world, people's penchant for clarity. You don't fault the people for that at all.

"In that sense, the government is being held up to a different mirror. But at the same time when you hold the government under that mirror it must not only be about negatives. You must also hold them for positives. There are many things which this Government has done that differentiates this Government, even in terms of governance, from the former administration."
Rambachan noted some of the positives:
  • The People's Partnership Government has upheld its responsibility in terms of the rule of law
  • It has adhered to the Constitution
  • It has answered all parliamentary questions
  • It has not interfered with the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and the judiciary
  • It has not interfered with the Equal Opportunities Commission 
  • It has prepared procurement legislation for Parliament
Rambachan noted that rural development is a priority for his government. "You can't crowd Port of Spain with everything. Resources will continue to be poured to make Port of Spain a gem of a capital city. But at the same time, you can't ignore other parts of the country," he said.

According to Rambachan, "A quiet but important revolution is taking place in terms of service delivery and responsiveness."

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai