By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Differing from the view of his Leader, David Granger, A Partnership for National Unity [APNU] member, Dr Rupert Roopnarine says he prefers to have Local Government Elections [LGE] before National Elections.
Granger had recently stated that the Opposition has been forced by Government to push for general elections ahead of LGE because of the administration’s lawlessness.
However, Dr Roopnarine disagreed as he shared his ‘personal opinion’ during the radio program ‘Hard Talk’ aired on 90.1 Love FM today [Sunday, August 24] along with Head of Blue Caps, Clinton Urling and the governing People’s Progressive Party [PPP] Member of Parliament, Manzoor Nadir. The program was hosted by Chris Chapwanya.
Dr. Roopnarine explained that while the APNU is committed to supporting the No Confidence Motion against the government by the minority political party – the Alliance for Change (AFC) – he believes that the people of Guyana stands to gain more by having LGE at the earliest possible time.
“My private opinion at this time notwithstanding the momentum out there, my own view at this time is that the country would benefit the most from Local Government Elections. Let’s think about the timing; were we to go through with the No Confidence Motion, which it looks like we are, it would mean you have elections within 90 days; that would mean we have elections in 2015.
“Were we to hold general elections in 2015 that would mean there would be no Local Government Elections until 2016. Given the state of the NDCs and state of Local Government, the general decay and function of the communities, I am not sure myself that general election is going to attend to that issue,” Dr Roopnarine said.
He also believes that the voting age for LGE should be reduced to 16 from 18. Dr Roopnarine further pointed out that Guyana could have LGE in a very short time, depending on the readiness of the Guyana Elections Commission.
His sentiments were met with total agreement by Urling, who is a known advocate for LGE. The Blue Caps’ Head pointed out the inability of the government and the Opposition to compromise on various important issues, the disrespect to the Parliament; more so the alleged illegal spending of monies not approved by the National Assembly by Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh.
Meanwhile, Nadir, speaking on behalf of the governing PPP, believes that both elections are important.
“The issue is going to be for us whichever one comes first, however it comes, we’re going to be once again going to the people with a strong program, seeking their mandate in terms of being their government,” Nadir said.
When asked a direct question by Chapwanya as to why no date has been set for elections as yet, Nadir could not give a definitive answer. Instead, he said, “I am confident we will see some movement in the next month and a half; it’s going to be crucial when the Parliament reconvenes. I am confident we will get Local Government Elections.”
On a separate note, Urling noted that most young people are frustrated with the current political climate.
“Most of them I’ve interviewed feel as though the politicians aren’t looking out for the people, they are looking out for their own interest. The solution should be a mature level of politics… These guys need to sit together.”
Local Government Elections was last held in 1994.