Brown upbeat after St George’s meeting
St George’s should not be treated the same way as Hamilton, an East End councillor said.
Liz Christopher said: “I think most people would agree that St George’s, a town, should not be legislated the same way as Hamilton, a city.”
Ms Christopher’s comment came during a town hall meeting held at Penno’s Wharf last night to discuss the future of the Corporation.
The meeting was the first as part of a six-month public consultation period. Future meetings will focus of the Corporation of Hamilton.
About 35 people took part in the East End event. Participants formed five groups to discuss six questions focusing on what the ideal relationship between constituents, the Corporation and the Government would look like.
Better communication and autonomy were mentioned by multiple groups.
Ms Christopher, spokeswoman for one of the tables, said that residents had a “great deal of affection” for St George’s as a municipality.
Renee Ming, MP for St George’s North, served as spokeswoman for another table.
She said that participants felt that the relationship between the corporation and the Government “should be a more supportive role”.
Ms Ming added: “It shouldn’t be adversarial. It should be more of support, where needed, not a takeover role. That was very clear.”
Walton Brown, Minister of Home Affairs, in March tabled the Municipalities Amendment Act 2018 in the House of Assembly.
The Bill would defer the next municipal elections until next year, as well as allow public officers to attend corporation meetings.
It would also allow the Government to give directions and take stewardship or temporary control of a corporation in certain circumstances believed to be in the best interests of Bermuda.
Mr Brown said he was pleased by the first town hall.
He said: “We had good, sustained discussion. We got a lot valuable input from the members of the public. A lot of very good ideas came forward.”
Mr Brown said the input of residents from the town hall events would have a “tremendous” impact and “help drive” the revised framework that is developed.
He said: “We want and we value the input of the public. So it’s a very serious undertaking.”
Mr Brown said the desire for autonomy reflected by event participants provided for an “interesting concept”.
He explained: “On the one hand there is a financial dependence, and then there is a call for autonomy. So it creates a bit of a challenge. We’ll have to work through that.”
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