The recently established Local Government Commission (LGC) says that while it has been busy, much of its time is currently being spent on ensuring the operationalization of its functions in early 2018.
The members of the LGC include Mortimer Mingo, Clement Corlette, Marlon Williams, Jo Ann Romascindo, Andrew Garnett, former Ministers of Local Government Norman Whittaker and Clinton Collymore and former Town Clerk of Georgetown, Carol Sooba.
The Commission said it held nine Statutory Meetings during the period of October to December 19, 2017, with primary emphasis of these meetings being the establishment of its Institutional Framework.
To that end, the LGC said that it sees “as an integral function the establishment of regulations for the conduct of its affairs and Standard Operating Procedures [SOP’s] for the conduct of the business of the Commission which will guide this entity’s operations even beyond the life of this current Commission. Since this is Guyana’s first such entity, the establishment of proper and effective guidelines of this nature is an imperative which will engage the Commission in the first quarter of 2018.”
Moreover, the Commission explained in a statement that it has earmarked a location for the establishment of its operations in Georgetown consistent with the requirements of the Act, and has advertised for the key personnel that would allow its work to progress.
An important aspect of the Commission’s Work Plan for 2018, the LGC said, will see the commencement of an extensive outreach, familiarisation programme of visits / meetings to the Ten (10) regions of Guyana.
“The purpose of the meetings will be to engage its constituents namely RDCs; Municipalities; NDCs; Amerindian Councils on Policy and Implementation framework on Taxation and other Revenue measures; Protection of the Environment; Service Delivery; Human Resource Development and other related areas mutually identified.”
According to the LGC, their initial meetings have also served to allow for the preparation of the Commission’s budget and the allocation of resources in keeping with Section 24.1 of the Local Government Act No.18 of 2013, which states that “The Commission shall determine its own annual budget for submission to the Minister of Finance for inclusion in the annual budget presented to the National Assembly.”
The LGC has been allocated $110M in the 2018 Budget, with an additional $1B to be transferred to NDCs and the nine Mayoralties and a further sum of $200M allocated towards improving the City of Georgetown.