Local Government and You!
continued and increasing damages to the local government system are being self- imposed under the current coalition government. The causal admittance in recent press statements published in most popular media has come from none other than President Granger, who has criticized what he views as un-cooperative PPP/C Councilors in some regions. At the same time, he states that ‘the coalition has to do much better at the next Local Government Elections (LGE).’
This admittance of the poor performances by Mr. Granger while hopefully aspiring, certainly cannot will or wish ‘wind goodies’ onto citizens that would sway opinions to fool again within the current framework. The fact of the matter is that aside from the increased hardships imposed by the coalition since in office, there has been too many prejudiced and unbalanced treatment of the elected Councils of Local Government Areas controlled by the PPP/C.
Further, the Minister with administrative responsibilities in this area has certainly lost credibility. He has too often demonstrated unpreparedness and lack of scruples in his continuing U-turn on democratic principles. Noteworthy, his deliberate undermining of certain councils and the deliberate delays in addressing the Local Government Commission among others, are not likely to be taken by citizens as passive as the coalition anticipates.
Notwithstanding, the suppression of our peoples in any LGA is grossly unacceptable. One would anticipate that after two years at the helm with numerous advisors, the use of basic knowledge of our LGA’s settings would be a key consideration in planning for that area. It was recently quite shocking when it was recognized that Ronald Bulkan, Minister of Communities and the head of the Local Government System did not know that there are several NDC’s which are not paying Rates and Taxes.
The revelations were evidenced by members of the Parliamentary Natural Re- sources Standing Committee; to which Bulkan currently function as the Chairman. As an executive member of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) from which President Granger also hail, must have been further shocked and humiliated when the Leader of the PNC expressed his greatest disappointment that the PPP/C humiliated the APNU/AFC coalition at the last LGE.
These public banters from President Granger who is Leader of the PNCR, are seemingly twisted reprimands because he also functions as the Chairman of Cabinet which has a greater decision role. He had expressed serious dissatisfaction when addressing his Party Leaders at the Party General Council meeting last weekend, as he begged his leaders and urged them to do better.
It is however time the President recognizes that cover-ups and blaming the PPP/ C for his Minister’s inadequacies cannot suffice. This is because from citizens’ perspective, the non-delivery of necessary service and welfare is inexcusable and will always inform rejection. More so, the recognition that the PPP/C comparatively had offered more meaningful delivery without creating such caustic environment must be principle to his considerations.
While David Granger was shedding tears and complaining bitterly over his coalition Government sad performance at the last Local Government Elections; Leader of the strong and vibrant Opposition the General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo was delivering a master speech to thousands of people at a massive public meeting at Leonora on the West Coast of Demerara. The massive crowd at the public meeting was fully behind the PPP General Secretary who really motivated and inspired them to continue giving their un-flinching support to the PPP.
Ronald Bulkhan no doubt, should do the most honorable thing and tender his resignation. This is absolutely since he does not even know that several NDC’s are not paying Rates and Taxes! How will his Ministry meaningfully plan for these areas? With all of his expensive hosted sessions, how can he not know this? It demonstrates that these so call meetings are indeed farcical, of no consequence and just not measuring up.
To educate Minister Bulkan, we plea the indulgence of our many of readers who could individually lecture him, that residents living in certain Local Authority Areas (LAAs) are not paying any Rates and Taxes or so bound under the existing laws. These include: Kwakwani, Mocha, Cane Grove and Mabaruma.
Further, it must be noted that Mabaruma is one of the last three Areas that was declared as a Town. However, this Coalition Government is most clueless as to the criteria and functioning requirements of LAAs. All Towns must meet certain standards and several general by-laws specify that all Towns must have: a Bank, Fire Station, Abattoir, and Dump-site along with many other facilities.
The APNU/AFC under the quack leadership and advice from Bulkhan and his cronies lost the Local Government leadership in Mabaruma and they are failing miserably to satisfy the people basic needs. The growing sufferings of our people are the main cause for people turning to violence and crime. With and all inclusive administration we could build together a better Guyana.
The Country Districts and the non-regulated-Areas are not paying Rate and Taxes but the Central Government normally and must budget for these Areas every year. It is imperative that the Regional Administration be more pro- active and include in their program, what is necessary to address betterment in these areas.
The Local Government Commission is a necessity and the Minister Bulkhan must appoint same now.
This article is prepared by Neil Kumar, Mr. S & Mr. A