…subvention increased for councilsRegional officials and councillors converged on Thursday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre for the second annual National Conference for Local Democratic Organs, seeking to bridge the gap between central and local Government authorities.President David GrangerThemed “Advancing national development through empowered and innovative local democratic organs in the green economy”, the forum serves as a platform to recognise the contributions made by local democratic organs and how they can be improved.Moreover, Regional and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils have a chance to collaborate on projects or initiatives to effect change on a wider level.Stakeholders were addressed by President David Granger, who lauded the contribution of local government towards community development.He stated that Local Government has reached the entire population in providing a safe space for them to come together as a social unit.“Local Government is aimed at satisfying basic needs of our people, particularly at the community level. It is concerned with ensuring safety, secure and economically sustainable communities. We’re all products of communities. The community is a social unit that must be preserved, must be protected [and] must be improved so that it can continue its vital role of socialising present and future generations,” the President acknowledged.Adding to that, other living conditions are shouldered by these organs, and moreover are seen as “a great burden to bear”.The Head of State also sought to mention the role of Councillors, who he believed can climb the ladder in the regional democratic system after serving the people and being au fait with operational processes.“Councillors at the Local Government level are the custodians of our communities. It is them who must ensure that the citizens can enjoy safety, security and sustainable economies within their communities… Local Government is boosting community development. It is invigorating village economics … Local democratic organs are vital elements of our system of local government.”SubventionsHis words followed that of the Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan, who announced increased subventions and the introduction of stipends for councils. However, he is of the belief that Councils should be able to garner revenue from the constituencies.He also stated that citizens should not look at Central Government to improve conditions but rather their municipalities.While citizens have grown accustomed to looking to Central Government for everything, NDCs have complained in the past about the few resources they have to cover all constituents. In most cases, the money is insufficient to conduct major works while in other cases, the Government has been accused of stymieing the work of local authorities whose residents are not supporters of the Government.