Govt insincere about local democracy, flouting promises- Luncheon

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PPP’s Executive member Dr Roger Luncheon

The Government has not been acting in accordance to their promise of regenerating local democracy, according to former Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon yesterday.

Luncheon asserted that the Coalition Government is bypassing its promises and commitments made during its campaigning period, especially as it relates to local democracy and social cohesion. He further sought to remind that trust is fundamental for political parties, while noting that the APNU-AFC administration has ‘continued to stray from this.’

“How sincere is the Granger Government with its talk of local democracy, social cohesion and thus like? [Let me] remind you that for a political party trust is fundamental and if the People’s Progressive Party [could] view the Granger Government with the greatest distrust, and [can] concede that nothing that the Granger Government says publicly can be considered as a fact until it is actually carried out, then we are in dire circumstances,” Luncheon said.

Luncheon highlighted the issue regarding a meeting between government and the Mayors of three local authority areas that have a controlling PPP presence held at the Marriot Hotel a few weeks ago.  The meeting was to discuss the National Regional Development Committee.

The PPP Executive member said that due process was not followed as the invitation to meet, came a mere 24 hours before the actual appointment.

The other issue Luncheon raised was the tied councils of several local authority areas.

The PPP had moved to the courts to stop Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan from illegally appointing a Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Mabaruma in Region One as well as the Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons in five other local authority areas in which the PPP and the APNU/AFC had the same number of seats after the Local Government Elections were held.

Bulkan had appointed Kervin Crawford as Chairman and Gail Thomas as Vice Chairman of the Gibraltar-Fyrish Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC); Audrey Thomas as Chairman of the Industry-Plaisance NDC; Peter Livingstone as Chairman and Royan Junior Thomas as Vice Chairman of the Malgre Tout-Meer Zorgen NDC; Carol Nurse as Chairman and Wilbert Vhypius as Vice Chairman of the Woodlands-Bel Air NDC; Gershon Clarke as Chairman of the Woodlands-Farm NDC and Rupert Henry Smith as Mayor and Astrille Gamell as Deputy Mayor of the municipality of Mabaruma.

However, the Court quashed these appointments and ruled in favour of the PPP on the grounds that that they were contrary to and in violation of Municipal and District Councils Act Chapter 28:01 and the Local Government Act Chapter 28:02. Justice Diana Insanally said that the decision “is in excess of and without jurisdiction, made in bad faith, is unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, based upon irrelevant and improper considerations, mala fide, malicious, vindictive, unlawful, ultravires, null, void and of no legal effect”.

According to Luncheon, Government wanted to resolve the issue contrary to what the PPP had insisted was lawful. He noted that to date those positions have not been filled.

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