All candidates and their families, supporters and friends made sacrifices for the sake of our democratic process; you are all heroes for your continued dedication to serving our country.
We warmly congratulate all the winning candidates. This is a passing of the torch for some and a resumption of duties for others. We are grateful that you have taken on this responsibility and feel confident that you are up to the task. You have been elected at a critical time in the history of local government, as we undertake local government reform.
You will be the ushers of the new system of local governance, in which Councils will have greater autonomy, expanded responsibilities and a higher level of accountability to the public. The people who elected you will also benefit from this reform by being given a louder voice in the decisions which directly affect us all.
Let me remind you, that you are at the forefront of bringing meaningful change to your communities. Therefore, you will be expected to demonstrate good governance. In particular, you will need to be responsive to the needs of your communities, showing openness and transparency, efficiency and effectiveness, as well as ethical conduct and respect for the rule of law.
We must develop the competence and capacity to do our jobs where weaknesses are identified, ensuring that sound financial management is practiced at all times. You will be held accountable. Do not fear innovation and openness to change.
As a start to demonstrate a new willingness, I am requesting that all candidates from all parties mobilise their supporters and lead the voluntary removal of all posters and election materials from public places. More and more, we must all become the keepers of our environment.
As local government reform brings goods and services closer to the public, rural development must also be a primary focus. We, as servants of local government must ensure that all burgesses, from the furthest reaches to the city centres, experience a higher level of access to and provision of public goods and services.
Rural development will bring amenities to the remotest parts of our nation, which have previously been under-served. It will ensure that all areas are connected and that each locality can feel equal representation through great public service.
My sincerest thanks go out to all new Councils as we embark on these tasks together in service to our nation.