Govt continues to disrespect elected local bodies
Peoples’ Progressive Party’s (PPP) Head Office, late yesterday afternoon, January 19th, 2017, was contacted by a number of Regional Chairmen and Mayors expressing their disapproval in attending a Government of Guyana activity hosted by the Ministry of Communities to launch the inaugural meeting of the National Regional Development Consultative Committee (NRDCC) on January 20, 2017 at the Marriot Hotel, Kingston. Among invitees to the inaugural NRDCC are Regional Chairmen, Regional Vice Chairmen, Mayors and Deputy Mayors.
Of interest is that the Regional Chairmen and the Regional Vice Chairmen of the seven (7) Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) won by the PPP/ C at the 2015 General and Regional elections, and the Mayors and Deputy Mayors of the three (3) Municipalities also won by the PPPC at the 2016 Local Government Elections, were given very short notice and were not given details regarding the meeting prior to travelling. Further, they were also asked to fund their own travelling costs.
The PPP notes with interest that there was no prior consultation with the Parliamentary Opposition or with the invited Local Authorities (Regions and Municipalities) on the inauguration of a NRDCC and the establishment of ten (10) Regional Development Consultative Committees (RDCCs). The latter would be co-chaired by the Regional Chairman and Mayor for each Administrative Region.
Also of interest is that the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) which were also overwhelmingly won by the PPP at the 2016 Local Government Elections have been excluded in the NRDCC and the ten (10) RDCCs.
As a result, the seven (7) Regional Chairmen and Vice Chairmen and three Mayors and Deputy Mayors of the Municipalities have written to the Minister electronically and by hand informing him that they will not be attending the inauguration of the NRDCC on January 20, 2017 due to lack of prior consultation.
These elected Regional and Municipal leaders also stated that they will not endorse attempts to create any body which will impinge on or dilute the Constitutional and legal power and authority of these elected Councils.
They are, however, prepared to meet the Minister to discuss the proposed NRDCC at a properly arranged meeting with adequate notice with in-depth consultations in each of their Administrative Regions with the RDC, the Municipalities and the NDCs. (PPP Statement).
Of note on the programme is the introduction of Regional Flags and Symbols. These Regional Councils have opposed this and believe the event in question appears to be one contrived to impose these on the Regions.
The PPP concludes that this is yet another example of the government’s unwillingness to hold proper and meaningful consultations with the elected bodies at the Regional, Municipal and NDC levels. The government’s consistency in their attempts to control in all ways possible can only now be described as utter disdain and disrespect for these elected bodies which are controlled overwhelmingly by the PPP/C.