Local Government and You!
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)