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House sitting on municipalities put on hold

Plans to hold a House of Assembly meeting tomorrow — when new legislation linked to municipalities was expected to be tabled — were put on hold yesterday.

Craig Cannonier, the Opposition leader, said he had been told there would be no session in the House and it is thought MPs will not reconvene until May.

He explained that the House was expected to adjourn last week, but the timetable changed after the Municipalities Reform Act 2019 was “shut down by the Senate”. Mr Cannonier said: “We were told there was going to be a statement made and we would be reconvening the following Friday to accommodate the potential of bringing a new Bill on municipalities to the House, to be tabled in the House this Friday.”

David Burt, the Premier, moved last week that MPs would adjourn until tomorrow.

But Mr Cannonier said he was informed yesterday afternoon that there would be no sitting of the House.

The One Bermuda Alliance leader added that he believed most members of the public either opposed the Act or wanted extra time for consultation and more information about what the effects of abolition of the Corporations of Hamilton and St George would be.

He pointed out that the former PLP government brought forward legislation in 2010 that ensured all registered residents in the two local authority areas had the right to be heard at the polls.

Mr Cannonier said: “This was about empowering people, giving them the vote that they should have had all along, yet this same government in 2019 comes back with a Municipalities Amendment Act that takes the right away from voters, so what is the agenda?”

He told the Government: “You're confusing the electorate now because they thought they were empowered, only to be disempowered by those same people, the PLP — there has to be some uniformity in what it is they're trying to accomplish.”

Mr Cannonier said he had no idea what a revised Act might have contained.

He added that, municipal elections for May 9 were published this week on the Government's Official Gazette.

Mr Cannonier said: “It would be fair for the Government to step back and take analysis of what's happening.”

Step back: Opposition Leader Craig Cannonier (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published March 28, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated March 28, 2019 at 12:06 pm)

House sitting on municipalities put on hold

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