By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Alliance for Change (AFC) has rejected what it describes as the continued disregard for local democracy, the people of Guyana and the constitutional right of all Guyanese to elect their own Local Government Authority by President Donald Ramotar.
The party says President Ramotar has failed to walk in the footsteps of the People’s Progressive Party’s founding leader Cheddi Jagan, who held local government elections two years after he had won the presidency.
AFC Executive Member Michael Carrington during a press conference on Thursday, September 26 reminded of the President’s promise during his 2011 election campaign to ensure the holding of Local Government Elections.
Carrington told reporters, “at a meeting organized by the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association at Pegasus on Wednesday the 25th March he had said if he won the 2011 elections, he would hold local government elections in 2012. He also said, he thinks we are in really desperate need for local government election in our country.”
He went onto the quote the President as saying: “Many of the problems we have at the level of the communities have to do with the fact, that there is a need for renewed democracy on the ground,”
Parliament on August 7 passed four local government bills – the Fiscal Transfers Bill, the Municipal and District Councils (Amendment) Bill, the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, the Local Government Commission Bill – which the Government says now, paves the way for the holding of Local Government Elections. The bills are however yet to reach the President for accent and is currently being vetted and corrected.
In this regard Carrington argued that the four Local Government bills have nothing to do with the holding of Local Government Elections, but are essential for a better and more democratic system of local governance.
He added that Gecom holds the power to put all systems in place for the holding of these elections but seems not to care.
“The date for holding of local governments elections is fixed by Section 7 of Act 10 of 1990 the Local Authorities Elections Amendment Act as the first Monday of the third December. This means that every three years the election shall be held. Gecom has full knowledge of this Act since it is on their website” he said, adding that “Section 4 of the Act transfers the power from the Minister to the Elections Commission. This Act was intended to remove all the powers of the Minister over Local Government elections and render the system totally independent of government direction, the first local government election was held in 1994, after Act 10 of 1990, came into force.”