The Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC), is on the verge of implementing a municipal court for the hearing of judicial and legislative matters regarding the municipality, particularly for persons defaulting in paying their rates and taxes and market dues amongst other things. This is one mechanism to be used by the council to effectively increase its revenue generation. Millions of dollars are currently owed to the council in rates and taxes and market dues, which has negatively affected the council’s financial status. It is currently cash strapped and cannot afford to meet its monthly expenses.
The court is also targeting persons who do not adhere to the council’s building by-laws and environmental by-laws. “The LM&TC has begun to send fines to persons so before the end 2022, when the municipal court comes into effect, those persons who have not been adhering to the notices and fines that they would have previously received from the council, the council will be able to take them through the system”, Mayor of Linden, Waneka Arrindell said.
In 2021, the LM&TC had consulted with the judicial officials such as the Chief Justice for advice on how the court system will not only be implemented but enforced. The council also engaged Attorney-at-Law Mr. Nigel Hughes and he is currently working along with the LM&TC to go through and amend the Municipal’s Act Chapter 28:01, to create the new parameters in which it can be updated since they feel that some parts of the law are antiquated. “The 28:01 still has by- laws that say your kitchen cannot be attached to your house and your garage cannot be attached to your house and laws as such have to be amended.” The by-laws that they are currently focusing on are the building by-laws, the environmental by-laws, and the municipal and constabulary by-laws. “These will help to put better systems in place to better guide and serve the town,” Arrindell said.
Once these new by-laws are written followed by community consultation, then gazetted, those by- laws will help the LM&TC to bring the fines in place that can be used at the municipal court. The municipal court is expected to be held at the Linden Magistrates’ Court. It is still to be determined the days the court will be held along with other logistics.