By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] –Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon has defended President Donald Ramotar amid rousing criticism from the Opposition, particularly the Opposition coalition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) – on his delay in naming a date for local government elections (LGE) which has not been held for over two decades.
Luncheon says there is absolutely no evidence that the Head of State has “disregarded, abandoned or recanted” from his commitment and that of his Party – The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) – to local government elections.
Only recently the APNU had reminded the President of his pledge during his 2011 elections campaign to hold LGE within one year of those elections. It has been three years since and the President has found himself in a situation where he is beset with almost daily protest from the political opposition and other civil organizations to name a date for LGE.
Luncheon said while LGE is necessary, if one was to take into consideration the priorities to be undertaken by the incoming and incumbent administration, it would be recognized it is not sufficient.
“Other players whose contributions are out there and indeed players who have publicly made comment about a substantial an issue as electoral readiness,” the Cabinet Secretary told reporters yesterday.
He said too that “the basis has been made and doesn’t need to be repeated… local government elections are is necessary and needed … we can all leave here concluding this is so and it is a view held by President Ramotar.”
Meanwhile, he reasoned that the constitutional implication of not holding LGE now is another matter.
“There is need for considerations; considerations that will have an impact on the constitutional requirements but those requirements are not black and white as some would have us believe,” he explained.
Dr. Luncheon said there are constitutional provisions when there are other factors that cannot be ignored and must be taken into consideration.
On Tuesday last APNU continued its demand for President Ramotar to name a date for the holding of Local Government Elections.
A contingent of protesters headed by the Leader of the Opposition, David Granger picketed outside of the Office of the President.
APNU demonstrators demanded that the President desists from pretending to desire elections but in fact “preventing the holding of local government election.”
APNU called on the President to issue the commencement order to operationalize the Local Government Commission. APNU also called on the President to initiate the process by which the Local Government (Amendment) Bill could be returned for his assent.
Blue Caps, headed by its Chairman, Clinton Urling, joined APNU in its protest action today and supports APNU’s call for the President to name a date for the holding of LGE.