“Having listened to the debates over the past three days, the comments through the social media as well as the members of the public, we have no doubt in concluding that the confidence that some members of the population placed in this Government has eroded…” said Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Collin Croal last night during his 2016 Budget debate presentation.
Croal, who is a former Permanent Secretary at the Local Government Ministry (now the Ministry of Communities) lashed out at the APNU+AFC’s senior Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan for failing to practice what he had preached during the 2015 budget debates about empowerment of the regional authorities in Guyana.
“I can say with confidence that the Guyanese population is disappointed and are becoming impatient with what they have seen as a result of the birth of the Coalition…last year I mentioned about the need for the Regional Chairmen, Regional Vice Chairmen to be sworn in as Justices of the Peace (JPs)…a number of articles written about this matter and to date the Minister has not answered to the population or made any comment as to why our Regional Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons have not been sworn in as JPs,” Croal contended.
He argued that the swearing in of these regional authorities has ‘been the norm’ and is in accordance with the Local Democratic Organ Act 12 of 1980. However, the Communities Minister in not swearing them in to the post of JPs has prevented them from performing their roles as part of their civic duty within their regions, the Opposition MP declared.
“Yet we speak of empowerment…Mr speaker, respect for the Regions, especially those that are controlled by the PPP/C must first start at the Cabinet level…we have observed a trend whereby Ministers are going into the respective Regions on Government business and not formally informing the Regional Democratic Councils, while in some cases the Regional Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons are notified through the local coalition political activists, this is eye-pass,” he posited.
Croal pointed out that the Opposition Party can and will never get tired of reminding the Government that it needs to stop operating as if it is still in “campaign mode and start acting like a responsible Government for all of the people.”