By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Vincent Alexander has sternly advised that Local Government Elections should not be held at the discretion of the government of the day.
He was at the time making a presentation at a Public Forum, organized by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), at the Pegasus Hotel this morning (Tuesday, June 10).
Alexander pointed out that the process was too integral to development, intended to go beyond administrative systems into the existing political architecture that it should be held as soon as possible.
“Local Government Election is not just about putting government in place… it’s a contributor to human growth and development,” Alexander posited.
He observed too that the constitution spells out the process for the holding of such elections; adding that those constitutional provisions are being observed in breached.
Meanwhile, Alexander rejected the argument by the administration surrounding the unaccented Local Authorities (Elections) (Amendment) Bill as fallacious.
On a personal note, he registered his support for the transfer of powers from the subject Minister to the Local Government Commission.
“Personally I see nothing wrong with the transfer of authority… I see no problem with powers being transferred from the Minister to the Commission,” he said; explaining further that the law unequivocally provides for Parliament to give executive power to agencies other than the Government/President.
Also, Alexander disagreed with the argument of ‘separation of powers’.
“I beg too to disagree,” he said; adding that agencies other than the Cabinet can have executive powers. He pointed out that there was no constitutional arm of government and commissions of this sort should be fall under the judicial, legislative, or executive arms of state.
Meanwhile, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield pointed out Gecom’s readiness to hold Local Government Election once the administration, through the subject Minister gives the order.
Lowenfield explained the administrative and statutory requirements that must be fulfilled leading up to those elections. He was supported by Gecom’s Chairman who reminded of the Commission’s announcement of its readiness since April 2010.
Alexander had earlier claimed that President Donald Ramotar intentionally placed himself in a position where he could blame Gecom for his not assent to a Bill calling for LGE to be held on or before August 1, 2014.
The Head of State had claimed that Gecom has publicly declared that it is impractical to hold local government elections on or before August 1.
The Bill was passed on February 10, almost five months before the proposed deadline and remained with the President until his announcement last month.