Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and You!

Weekend Mirror - - GETTING IT RIGHT -

be­ing the fi­nal edi­tion of this col­umn for the year 2016, we take the op­por­tu­nity to wish all read­ers, our com­rades and friends through­out Guyana and the Di­as­pora, a Happy New Year and a Pros­per­ous and Pro­gres­sive 2017.

In­deed, 2017 will be very chal­leng­ing, given the frame­work es­tab­lished through the ex­treme and con­flict­ing bud­getary mea­sures im­posed by the APNU/AFC Gov­ern­ment on our cit­i­zens.

There will be sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased pres­sure on the poor, through the im­po­si­tion of in­creases in ap­prox­i­mately 200 ad­di­tional taxes, in­clud­ing VAT on wa­ter and elec­tric­ity for the first time.

We could also ex­pect the clo­sure and/or down­scal­ing of ma­jor pro­duc­tive en­ti­ties as the in­cen­tives pre­vi­ously pro­vided have been un­wisely taken away.

De­spite the ex­pec­ta­tion of tremen­dous hard­ships foisted on our na­tion, the Guyanese creativ­ity, col­lec­tive strength, co­op­er­a­tion and re­silience will be nec­es­sary to over­come the sur­vival strug­gle.

Our peo­ple have their own in­di­vid­ual as well as our coun­try’s des­tiny to mould!

As such, we should never be­come sus­cep­ti­ble to the trick­ery and witch­ery of the APNU+AFC gov­ern­ment by al­low­ing them con­tin­u­ously to ca­jole and threaten them into be­liev­ing, again, based on the de­cep­tive prom­ises they made to the na­tion.

Their lies in ac­quir­ing the votes and sup­port in the 2015 Gen­eral and Re­gional Elec­tions, now are be­ing ab­so­lutely con­firmed with a harder life in­stead of a good life. It is very clear that the poli­cies they have im­ple­mented tar­get the en­rich­ment of a few at the ex­pense of the na­tion.

By now, ev­ery Guyanese and the ABC coun­tries are aware that GECOM’s in­ept per­for­mance, was a con­tribut­ing fac­tor to­wards the Coali­tion be­ing in power to­day. The GECOM Chair­man al­lowed fake State­ments of Poll in the sys­tem and when it be­came knowl­edge­able by the Chief Elec­tions Of­fi­cer, who brought same to the at­ten­tion of the Chair­man, noth­ing was done to­wards in­ves­ti­gat­ing the source of the fake State­ments of Poll.

Dr.Su­ru­jbally said that no in­ves­ti­ga­tion was nec­es­sary with­out ev­i­dence. A kinder­garten stu­dent would tell you that most ev­i­dence is derived through in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

Dr. Su­ru­jbally in­sulted the in­tel­li­gence of the Guyanese elec­torates. His ac­tions could have re­sulted in ma­jor and deeper cat­a­strophic con­se­quences, and no other Com­mis­sioner’s res­ig­na­tion was more wel­comed.

Al­beit, it came against the back­drop of sus­tained pres­sure and con­stant pick­et­ing by the PPP/C and other stake­hold­ers. The hard work and con­sis­tent strug­gle has paid div­i­dend and the haughty Chief, who was re­spon­si­ble for the ques­tion­able and il­le­gal re­sults of the 2015 Re­gional and Gen­eral Elec­tions, is now gone.

How­ever, he would be re­mem­bered in the an­nals of this coun­try’s his­tory as the worst serv­ing Chair­man of GECOM, mak­ing Harold Bollers looked like an an­gel. We all know that Mr. Bollers was Chair­man of GECOM when the most bla­tant of rig­ging of elec­tions in Guyana took place un­der the Burn­ham and Hoyte regimes.

Nev­er­the­less, this col­umn wishes Dr.Su­ru­jbally the best in his fu­ture en­deav­ours and hopes that, as he re­laxes into re­tire­ment, he is not spared the tor­ment of rem­i­nisc­ing the woes he brought to the peo­ple of this coun­try, through the last Re­gional and Gen­eral elec­tions he man­aged in Guyana.

The search for a new Chair­man of GECOM is on­go­ing, with the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion sub­mit­ting six names, after con­sul­ta­tion with more than thirty en­ti­ties, bod­ies and or­gan­i­sa­tions.

It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Pres­i­dent or the Head of State to re­ject or choose one as the next Chair­man of GECOM. These es­teemed per­sons rep­re­sent a wide cross sec­tion of the Guyanese pub­lic, as made known by the nom­i­na­tors of those per­sons.

It is hoped that this process would con­clude very early in the New Year to en­able GECOM to con­tinue its work as man­dated by the Con­sti­tu­tion, at present and since mid-Au­gust the work of GECOM had been stag­nated at the Com­mis­sion level, with no meet­ings and no re­spon­si­ble de­ci­sions taken to en­hance the work at that in­sti­tu­tion.

In the in­ter­est of Guyana’s con­tin­ued de­vel­op­ment, the cat­e­gor­i­cal re­jec­tion of APNU/AFC’s im­posed hard­ships must be le­gal, mea­sured and struc­tured. At the lo­cal gov­ern­ment level, the In­ter­nal Elec­tions have con­cluded, with the PPP hav­ing the con­trol of fifty of the seventy-one Lo­cal Author­ity Ar­eas, winning 48 at the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Elec­tion in 2016 and main­tained con­trol at the In­ter­nal Elec­tions.

It is a clear state­ment of the peo­ple and an ac­cept­able demon­stra­tion of re­ject­ing gov­ern­ment’s un­car­ing ap­proach.

How­ever, there are still un­re­solved is­sues in re­spect to two of the tied Lo­cal Author­ity Ar­eas, with one, the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Mabaruma re­mained tied and the Min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ties pre­vented in­ter­nal elec­tions at two in Re­gion 5, namely Bel Air/ Wood­lands and Wood­lands/ Farm Neigh­bour­hood Demo- cratic Coun­cils.

Min­is­ter Bulkan, who usu­ally finds com­fort in quot­ing sec­tions of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act, Chap­ter 28:02, has vi­o­lated the Con­sti­tu­tion and the same Act that give guid­ance to the ad­min­is­tra­tion and func­tion of the Lo­cal Author­ity Ar­eas by not al­low­ing the in­ter­nal elec­tions for the two Neigh­bour­hood Demo­cratic Coun­cils in Re­gion # 5, when the other five tied Lo­cal Author­ity Ar­eas have had in­ter­nal elec­tions.

Shame on you, Min­is­ter Bulkan!

Fur­ther, at the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Rose Hall (con­stituency# 7), where there was a tie dur­ing the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Elec­tions in March 2016, still no ef­fort has been made to re­solve the “Tie” as out­lined in the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act, Chap­ter 28:02. Since noth­ing is be­ing done by the Min­is­ter of Com­mu­ni­ties and Coali­tion Gov­ern­ment to re­solve this is­sue, this col­umn views the de­lib­er­ate in­ac­tion as an at­tack on democ­racy on the lo­cal front.

So much for in­clu­sive­ness and gov­er­nance at the grass­root level, as been preached by the Coali­tion Gov­ern­ment!

The Coali­tion boasted of con­duct­ing Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Elec­tion in its first year in Gov­ern­ment, but failed to ac­cept and take re­spon­si­bil­ity for an in­con­clu­sive Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Elec­tion.

Read­ers must be re­minded of the de­lib­er­ate ab­sence of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion which, after 8 months, has not been ac­ti­vated de­spite the fact that PPP sub­mit­ted the names of its three nom­i­nees over 6 months ago.

The es­tab­lish­ment of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion was one of the crit­i­cal Coali­tion Man­i­festo Plans. After 20 months in Gov­ern­ment, how­ever, the peo­ple are still await­ing its es­tab­lish­ment, a prom­ise that should have been ful­filled in their first 100 days.

Ac­ti­vate the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Com­mis­sion NOW! (This ar­ti­cle is pro­duced by Mr. Neil Kumar, Mr. S and Mr. A)

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