By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The APNU+AFC administration remains steadfast in its plans to hold long overdue Local Government Elections (LGE) before the end of 2015 and is planning for such in early December.
This is according to Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan who made the declaration during a presentation on the Local Government Amendment Bill 2015, which was passed in the National Assembly today.
Bulkan, responding to claims by the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) that the earliest date for elections would be in the first half of 2016, made it clear that “Local Government Elections will be held before Christmas.”
The elections were last held in Guyana in 1994 and in recent years several protests have been mounted and calls made for the previous administration to set a date for the elections.
Minister Bulkan questioned why the Opposition Party would like to see the elections being held until 2016 and proffered that the Party may have a fear of Guyanese being empowered through local democracies.
“They have a fear of people being empowered to manage their own affairs…they desire to keep our people subjugated,” said Bulkan.
He maintained LGE has little to do with the politics of Guyana but it is to ensure the effective functioning of local government bodies.
“The elections have little to do with politics and everything to do with giving people their constitutional rights to take care of their communities,” said Minister Bulkan.
Meanwhile, Vice President and Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan in his presentation spoke of the implementation of constabularies in local government bodies.
According to Ramjattan, the local constabulary offices would effectively ease the strain on the Guyana Police Force and address concerns that can be dealt with locally.
“What this amendment also does it that is also ensures that the police do play a role in the training of the members of the neighbourhood constabulary,” said Ramjattan.
It was noted too that members of such constabularies may also wield weapons in the discharge of their functions.
“It is one thing to give the impression that we are going to diffuse power to the local government authorities…this is making it quite clear that they have the power to handle their affairs,” said Ramjattan.