By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker says he is not in agreement with the call mounted by Former President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and Founder of the new social change organization – Blue CAPS, Clinton Urling for citizens to be allowed to directly elect their Mayors.
In an invited comment, Whittaker said he does not believe in reposing executive powers in Mayors. He is supportive of Mayors remaining political.
“Mayors are supposed to be political and not executive.”
Presently, Guyana’s local government laws do not allow for one to directly elect a Mayor. Citizens can elect Councillors, who will then elect a Mayor.
Urling had expressed the view that the crafters of the new local government laws should have made provisions that will allow for citizens to directly elect their Mayors.
Meanwhile, Commissioner of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Vincent Alexander also expressed his concerns about appointing an Executive Mayor.
According to him, this would not only produce an autocratic approach to local government and municipal governance, but would deflate the value of people’s involvement, in the democracy that Guyana is trying to build.
He said, “In any local government system, there are strong mayors who are directly elected by the people with a responsibility to the citizens for the conduct of the affairs of an elected council; similarly there are weak mayors who operate as the principal councillor among a council of equals.”
Alexander, who is a member of the Task Force for the Local Government reform process made it clear that he was not an advocate for the Executive Mayor.