Local government debaters get low grades

November 18, 2016
Mayor of May Pen, Scean Barnswell.
The Jamaica Labour Party's Desmond McKenzie shake hands with the People's National Party's Angela Brown Burke following Wednesday night's Local Government debate at the Creative Production and Training Centre in Kingston.

The first of two Local Government debates that took place on Wednesday night did not score high points with Clarendon's mayor and one of the parish councillors, Kenneth Davis.

Speaking with THE WEEKEND STAR, Mayor Scean Barnswell said that some of the questions that were posed to the debaters were really for administrators to respond to.

"One such example is how much of the money that comes to the council goes to administration or services. No political director would know that information or have that info," he said. Barnswell also said that the debaters seemed to have lost their focus, going straight into gutter politics, tracing, and 'kass kass'.

"That kinda shifted the focus and the interest that we were hoping to get from the debate. What we now need to do is to show to people who are on the fences the importance of local government, how it impacts on your life, and why it's important you participate in this upcoming election," he said.

Regarding the questions posed to the debaters, he said some of them should have been more specific about philosophy and policy. Looking ahead, Barnswell said that he is looking forward to the final debate, which will be held next week.

"Since it will be dealing with operations, what we now need to do is to say exactly what the council has been doing for the people of this country, speak of our achievements and defend them," he said.

Central Clarendon councillor Kenneth Davis said he expected more issues to be expounded on in terms of representation. For the final debate he said it is his hope that there would not be a repeat of what took place in terms of mud-slinging.

"I am hoping to see more openness and less confrontation. We are here for the people. Whatever we are doing must be clear as crystal," he said.

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