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Background

The establishment of the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities (CALGA) was pioneered by The Trinidad and Tobago Association of Local Government Authorities (TTALGA), which with the support of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, hosted the historical first meeting of Local Government practitioners in the Region. The conference was held in Port of Spain on 15 and 16 November 1991 underwritten by TTALGA, with some financial assistance from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and technical support from the University of the West Indies – St Augustine.

The central purpose of the conference was to explore the idea of forming a Caribbean Local Government Association. In attendance were: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago. Participants concluded that viable Local Government systems were critical to national and regional development; that there was a need for problem-solving mechanisms and structures to be designed; and recognized the need for constitutional protection of Local Government in national Constitutions. The meeting resolved that:

  • A Caribbean Association of Local Government authorities be established to facilitate close and practical cooperation among Local Government authorities within CARICOM
  • TTALGA function as the Interim Secretariat for the emerging association
  • Steps be taken to strengthen national associations in CARICOM states
  • National associations be established where they do not exist
  • Steps be taken to:
    • Place issues of Local Government on the CARICOM agenda
    • Entrench Local Government in the Constitutions of CARICOM states
    • Ensure financial autonomy of Local Authorities
    • Design and implement a programme of training and studies in Local Government

In April of 1992 Caribbean Local Government delegates met in Jamaica to draft a constitution for a Regional association, and seven months later – in November 1992 the Caribbean Association of Local Government Authorities – CALGA was launched, its Constitution adopted and an Executive Committee duly elected.

Thereafter until 1998   the Secretariat operating from the TTALGA office organized Annual General Meetings of CALGA accompanied by capacity-building workshops conducted by the UWI and hosted by various CARICOM states that had Local Government systems; and secured development funding and technical support for:

  • induction training for Local Government representatives in Trinidad in 1996 and those in the Bahamas where elections were held for the first time
  • an eighteen-month consultancy for Community Development and Local Government in independent OECS states and Trinidad and Tobago 1997-98

With endorsement from CALGA, the University of the West Indies spearheaded by Dr Bishnu Ragoonath who designed and offered the Certificate in Local Government studies.

Between 1998 and 2008 CALGA’s Activities and Partnerships included:

  1. 2000 - With Urban Management Programme (UMP-LAC) City Consultations and Inclusiveness in Governance – Montego Bay Jamaica with the following outcomes:
    • Montego Bay Agenda
    • B. Ragoonath (ed) Inclusiveness in Governance : Caribbean Considerations and Experiences
  2. 2001 - With Urban Management Programme (UMP-LAC) Regional Seminar on Innovative Approaches to Local Development and Management Rosseau Dominica with the following outcomes:
    • Rosseau Declaration.
    • B. Ragoonath (ed) Promoting Participatory Governance for Urban Poverty Elimination in the Caribbean
  3. 2002 –With NDI Decentralization and Local Government in the Caribbean with the following outcome:
    • NDI Published Report
  4. 2003 - With OAS (Unit for the Promotion of Democracy and UNDP: Forum on Local Government For small States: Issues. Experiences, Options with the following outcome:
    • OAS Published Report
  5. 2004 - With Commonwealth Secretariat/CLGF Local Democracy and Good Governance in the Caribbean Montego Bay Jamaica with the following outcomes: 
    • Montego Bay Action Programme.
    • Commonwealth Secretariat, (ed) Local Democracy and Good Governance in the Caribbean
  6. 2005 (Feb)– UNDP/UN-Habitat/ UMP-LAC/IPES Capitalizing City Consultations for Localizing the MDGs in the Caribbean Port of Spain
  7. 2005 (Aug) – Deepening Local Governance and participation in CARICOM States Port of Spain
  8. 2006 – With CLGF/OAS Meeting in St. Vincent
  9. 2006-2008 – With CFLGM/CIDA provided critical support for the development of a Regional Policy and Cooperation Framework on Local Governance and Local Democracy in the Caribbean

 

From 2008 to 2012 the CALGA Secretariat was re-located to The Bahamas with the CALGA Presidency being held by that country until the President ceased to be a Local Government representative. During that time no office was set up. The CALGA Executive, however represented the organization at several international fora. At one such meeting of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum in 2011 held in Cardiff, Wales Trinidad and Tobago was requested to provide accommodation for the CALGA Secretariat and the Prime Minister of the country consented. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago arranged for the CALGA Office to be accommodated by the Chaguanas Borough Corporation. Through the EU- funded ARIAL project which was designed to support and strengthen national and regional Local Government associations in ACP countries, CALGA was provided with resources to resuscitate its operations. Financed by ARIAL and project managed by the University of the West Indies, CALGA was provided with Technical staff with effect from 1st February 2012 until July 2013, along with office furniture, equipment and provisions for office supplies and services. CALGA is now incorporated under the Companies Act 1995 of the laws of Trinidad and Tobago.