MORE than 600 people have nominated for local government positions before the January 27 elections.
Nomination Day was on January 6. Some 617 persons nominated, however, this number could dwindle if people decide to withdraw from the register.
“The number of candidates that (have) recently nominated for local government elections proves that Bahamians across our Family Islands want to get involved in the governance of our country,” said Agriculture, Marine Resources and Family Island Affairs Minister Clay Sweeting.
“It is evident through their involvement that we will work together to develop our communities and positively impact the lives of Family Islanders. I am excited and congratulate all of them and wish them great success in the upcoming elections.”
Up until Wednesday, 92 districts were being contested.
The minister said he is looking forward to working with the elected candidates for the betterment of their communities.
He added that there are plans to increase the power of local government and other councils.
“With the Department of Local Government, we want to enhance and strengthen that, to look at the legislation and how we can provide revenue raising powers for these local government practitioners in the Family Islands. We want them to be able to really function properly and give them the powers that they were meant to have and to decentralize a lot of the government services,” Mr Sweeting said.
“Once we are able to amend the legislation to provide revenue raising power, to increase the budget like we committed to and provide more funding to these districts, then they will feel like they have the leeway to do more of the things that they want to do. We are also working along with a number of industries to decentralise a lot of these processes that have been centralised. The idea of local government was to get the approvals and to eliminate a lot of the red tape.”
The final day for verification of information on the register is tomorrow and on Monday the register will be publicised.
After the elections, a recount will be held on January 28, the writs will be returned and the results publicised on January 31.