Lo­cal Govern­ment and You!

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Granger led APNU/ AFC coali­tion is hard at work in con­jur­ing up con­temp­tu­ous bullish ap­proaches, that they hope will sti­fle and re­sign the Guyanese ci­ti­zenry into a docile mode of pas­sive ac­cep­tance.

The na­tion can, how­ever, take so­lace from the feed­back of the ma­jor­ity, that this time around their pur­sued ‘ac­cept and get on with it syn­drome’, will un­equiv­o­cally, not be al­lowed to hap­pen!!!

Cit­i­zens con­tinue to wit­ness the al­most daily fla­grant abuse of obli­ga­tions by the lead­ers of the coali­tion to­wards the im­ple­men­ta­tion of key Con­sti­tu­tional Com­mis­sions.

Only re­cently, Granger’s vi­o­la­tions reached a higher level when he elim­i­nated every shred of de­cency ex­pected of a Head of State op­er­at­ing in the in­ter­est of cit­i­zens. It came pour­ing over re­cently when he pub­licly and shame­lessly coaxed the North Amer­i­can Chap­ter of the PNCR to adopt ap­proaches of the past to keep the party in power.

The Pres­i­dent should be wary that there are many among us who ex­pe­ri­enced the sti­fling 70’s and 80’s, ad­min­is­tered over by the PNC’s ruth­less dic­ta­tor­ship poli­cies.

Let it be known, there­fore, that ev­ery­thing will be done to pre­vent such curses on our beloved coun­try and fel­low cit­i­zens from ever oc­cur­ring again, by un­demo­cratic ap­proaches!!!

Not­with­stand­ing, how­ever, cit­i­zens must rec­og­nize that even as this APNU/AFC coali­tion at­tempts to stretch the tol­er­ance lev­els of the ma­jor­ity be­yond the max­i­mum limit, it is nec­es­sary to point out that the need to al­low the civil and ju­di­cial pro­cesses to be ex­er­cised must also be al­lowed in ad­dress­ing these sig­nals. They will be chal­lenged and ex­posed with­out fear and with un­ques­tion­able bold­ness, be­cause our coun­try is de­serv­ing of the free­doms earned.

As it re­lates to elec­tions mat­ters, there is gen­eral aware­ness that the 2016 Lo- cal Govern­ment Elec­tions is still largely un-fin­ished; that se­ri­ous prob­lems in sev­eral Neigh­bour­hood Demo­cratic Coun­cils (NDCs) and Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties ex­ist, which would sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact any up­com­ing elec­tions.

Im­por­tant also is the big prob­lem with the reg­is­ter of reg­is­trants which has to be re­solved, as thou­sands of Guyanese are not reg­is­tered at the place where they are liv­ing.

Fur­ther, it is crys­tal clear that a new house-to-house reg­is­tra­tion ex­er­cise is way over­due. Hence, it is im­per­a­tive that the Guyana Elec­tions Com­mis­sion (GECOM) go into full op­er­a­tional mode, im­me­di­ately.

The strat­egy of the Granger-led Coali­tion fu­elled much de­lay in the past and now spews much con­tam­i­na­tion that they are aware will be chal­lenged, into what must rep­re­sent the most trans­par­ent mea­sures re­al­iz­ing the choices of cit­i­zens.

The uni­lat­eral, un­con­sti- tu­tional and con­tro­ver­sial ap­point­ment of re­tired Jus­tice James Pat­ter­son as Chair­man of GECOM will be a se­ri­ous mat­ter for the ‘Court’ and this process will be a de­lib­er­ate ef­fort by the APNU/AFC Govern­ment to in­ter­fere with the func­tion­ing of GECOM.

As it is, GECOM is dead with re­spect to func­tional trans­parency and noth­ing is hap­pen­ing in re­spect to elec­tions pre­pared­ness and readi­ness. But cit­i­zens have to be viper patent as these maters have to be ad­dressed in due time even if de­layed. It must be made clear to this Granger-led Coali­tion that the Burn­ham era elec­tion ap­proaches is also dead and gone. Rig­ging of elec­tions will not be con­doned and all the ‘un­fit and im­proper staff’ at GECOM will have to be re­moved and a proper san­i­ti­za­tion done to re­flect a bal­ance.

It is un­ac­cept­able that de­spite con­fir­ma­tion of se­ri­ous mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tions, cor­rup­tion and bla­tant pil­fer­ing at the GECOM Sec­re­tariat re­ported by the Au­di­tor Gen­eral, the same per­sons will be ap­proved to over­see the sys­tems of vot­ing. Ra­tio­nally, the cleans­ing should have com­menced be­fore the mil­lions of dol­lars were ap­proved by par­lia­ment for the same cor­rupt per­sons to steal.

The use of the term ‘bit­ter and con­tam­i­nated’ in de­scrib­ing the level of ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency at GECOM is mild and in­deed an un­der­state­ment. Even af­ter the sig­nif­i­cant pro­cure­ment breaches re­ported by the Au­dit Of­fice; the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance re­cently re­ported that GECOM did not sub­mit a pro­cure­ment plan, which was a re­quire­ment ac­cord­ing to the 2018 bud­get cir­cu­lar. It is the same ques­tion­able char­ac­ters, over­see­ing the process and who will be involved in mon­i­tor­ing elec­tion mat­ters.

Fur­ther, there are still se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions in­volv­ing the spend­ing of more than one hun­dred mil­lion dol­lars in the pur­chas­ing of ma­te­ri­als that were not used in the 2015 and 2016 Elec­tions. Many se­ri­ous pend­ing is­sues in­clude:

- Sev­eral se­nior staff mem­bers are still at the GECOM Of­fice ‘lim­ing’ and col­lect­ing ‘fat’ salaries.

- The fact that in­side con­fi­den­tial sources is call­ing on the Au­di­tor Gen­eral Of­fice to ex­pose the mil­lions of dol­lars that was paid out to phan­tom work­ers.

- That not only are there re­ports of dis­crim­i­nated em­ploy­ment of per­sons to work at GECOM, but the ‘pay sheets’ are heav­ily padded with names of fam­i­lies and friends.

The pub­lic is call­ing on the GECOM Com­mis­sion­ers to get rid of those at the Sec­re­tariat, in­clud­ing the Chief Elec­tion Of­fi­cer Keith Lowen­field, the Man­ager of Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Sup­port Ser­vices, Michelle Ward and the Chief Ac­coun­tant, Joseph East­man, who were al­legedly involved in the fi­nan­cial and pro­cure­ment ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties at the Elec­tion Body.

For the 2018 fis­cal year, Par­lia­ment ap­proved $192.8 mil­lion on Cap­i­tal works and it is hoped that the monies are prop­erly uti­lized. Over­all, $2 bil­lion was ap­proved for GECOM and the ad­min­is­tra­tion is also ex­pected to ex­plain what they will do with the mil­lions of un­spent monies for 2017.

It is of note that al­lo­ca­tions in­clude $21M for the up­grade of the IT Of­fice and a fur­ther $7.2M for the pur­chase of 40 Desk­top Com­put­ers to re­place the cur­rent sys­tem in Re­gion #4.

In­side sources are ques­tion­ing the pur­chase of these com­put­ers and the de­vel­op­ment of the IT Of­fice, which did not func­tion dur­ing the 2015 Gen­eral and Re­gional Elec­tions and 2016 Lo­cal Govern­ment Elec­tions. Much more will be writ­ten of GECOM spend­ing and pil­fer­ing

Guyanese at home and in the Di­as­pora have rec­og­nized and are al­ready con­demn­ing ‘Rigged Elec­tions’ ap­proaches touted and im­plied by Granger’s at­ti­tude. The mere ac­tions of this govern­ment are syn­ony­mous with deep seated fraud­u­lent in­tent, for the up­com­ing 2020 Elec­tions.

All must be alerted to guard against any of the bea­con­ing dirty sig­nals. Fur­ther, in­sti­tu­tional ar­range­ments must be put in place and the many lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions must be fully alerted and be ready to over­look in en­sur­ing free and fair elec­tions in Guyana.

It is very clear that the lit­i­ga­tion process was de­lib­er­ately or­ches­trated by the APNU/ AFC so as to cre­ate con­fu­sion and frus­trate the work of GECOM. Guyanese must prepare to stand up and fight against ‘rigged elec­tions’.

(This ar­ti­cle was pre­pared by Neil Ku­mar, Ms. S & Mr. A)

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