Government considering municipal courts

The Government is considering setting up municipal courts countrywide to deal with violations of municipal laws.

Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan addressing Councillors in Region Two
Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan addressing Councillors in Region Two

This is according to Communities Minister Ronald Balkan, who made the announcement while speaking to Councillors in Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) over the weekend. He said the need for the courts is being made by various organisations.

According to Bulkan, repeated calls for municipal courts have been made by the Georgetown Mayor and City Council and the Private Sector so that delinquent taxpayers and other violators can be dealt with expeditiously.

Speaking with the Region Two Councillors, Bulkan explained that since engaging the Georgetown City Council and holding similar engagements with other councils across the country, the Administration is considering setting up municipal courts as a mechanism to address these and other disregard for the authority of municipal councils and non-adherence to regulations.

“It is coming through clear, in all our engagement with all our local Government organs, that we would need a dedicated court to be able to address infractions and violations at the local (government) level,” the Minister said.

Bulkan noted that unless there is an effective and functioning mechanism, the councils would not be able to meaningfully address and arrest activities which do not help the functioning of the councils.

According to Bulkan, councils have been complaining not only of their inability to rake in outstanding monies owed by delinquent taxpayers, but issues such as illegal roadside vending and illegal building construction have also been affecting their revenue bases and impeding their effective functioning.

The issue of roadside vending was one raised during the meeting with the Region Two Councillors. Bulkan told the Councillors that municipal courts would help in bringing resolution, in an expeditious and efficient manner, to the issues.

A municipal court is a court whose jurisdiction is limited to a specific municipality. These courts preside only over cases and offences that take place within their jurisdiction. They provide a forum for the fair and impartial resolution of alleged violations as established by the town ordinance code.