On 25th June 1996, by an Act, cited as the Local Government Act, brought Local Government to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas for the very first time, in a formal democratic way.

It was not until 1999, when Administrator A. E. Williams then President of the “Association of Local Government Administrator’s (ALGA) recommended to the Chief Councillors the need to establish a national association for Local Government Practitioners. The idea was well received and elections were subsequently held during the induction training conference held every three (3) years for newly elected Local Government Practitioners in the capital, Nassau.

The first elected President of the association was Chief Councillor Rosney Cooper, the Chief Councillor for the West Grand Bahama District.

 

 

The name of the association was officially adopted and ratified as the “Bahamas Association of Local Government Authorities” (BALGA). Officers of the Association were:-

·      The President

·      The Vice President

·      The Treasurer

·      The Secretary

·      The Chaplain

The officers were then charged with the responsibility to consult with Administrator A. E. Williams and along with an Attorney-at-Law, to construct a draft constitution for the Association and have same presented at the next Annual General Meeting.

It was not until 2003 that the Draft Constitution was presented to the General Body for review. Administrator Gary Knowles was appointed to conduct the review and ratification process. After a day of scrutiny and amendments, the Constitution was ratified. All members agreed to pay membership annual dues of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00).

In the year 2007 the Constitution was amended so as to make provisions for the purpose of BALGA’s Administration, regions were created. Thus the country was divided into three (3) regions. The Northern, the Central and the Southern Regions, with each it’s own Regional Vice President and “Island grouping” of Jurisdiction.

Ever since the establishment of the National Association (BALGA), elections of officers are held every three (3) years during the triennial General Meeting which coincide with the National Triennial Induction Training Conference for elected Local Government Practitioners. Past Presidents were:-

1.     Cllr. Rosney Cooper – 1999-2002

2.     Cllr. Phillip McPhee – 2002-2008

3.     Cllr. Deon Sweeting – 2008- 2011

4.     Cllr. Phillip McPhee – 2001-Present

 

In the short period of its existence BALGA has held several workshops for its members.

 

In addition BALGA has published and lodged several reports, position papers and petitions such as:

  • The BALGA Freeport Accord – A petition to the Minister for Local Government.
  • Position Papers on:
    • The recommendation for the Empowerment of Local Authorities to collect certain local taxes and to raise funds in order to augment the Central Government subventions to Local Government Councils in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
    • Environmental Management and the Protection & Development of Marine Eco-Systems.
    • Climate change – Impacts on small islands development states.
    • Community levels Disaster Preparedness and Response……Beyond Strategic Planning.
  • Position Paper presented to the Constitutional Commissioners for – “Constitutional recognition for Local Government in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas”.

BALGA is the recognized national umbrella organization representing Local Government Authorities in the Bahamas.