Support for the recent Community Elections at Kwakwani
I write to express support for the Community Elections at Kwakwani on 5th September 2012.
The fact that there has been no Local Government Elections since 1994 in Guyana is an indication that the Ministry of Local Government & Regional Development has no interest in Local Democracy.
Since the results of the 2011 National and Regional Election in Guyana, the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development has launched an all-out assault on all of the institutions of Local Democracy.
They put into place a relentless plan of suppression of the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils by forcefully reassigning Overseers. It has been alleged that Senior Officers of the Ministry including elected officials have blamed the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils’ nationwide lack of performance, for the PPP/C Government’s loss of control over the National Assembly.
The stigma of blaming Neighbourhood Democratic Councils for loss of National Electoral support has seen or ushered in a new dispensation, whereby the Ministry assumed the role of employing Overseers for Neighbourhood Democratic Councils. This they believed provide the key to selecting handpicked lackeys and friends of the Ministry and by extension supporters of the PPP to be in control of the affairs of the Local Administration decisions and Work Plans within the Village Councils, Re – Neighbourhood Democratic Council.
At the commencement of the Village movement in 1839 all matters of political decisions on Local Development Plans have been the responsibility of the Local Elected Leaders and Overseers.
With the advent of Act 14 of 1945, under the British Colonial Government, a structured Local Government System was evolved to derive by Law an executive administrative frame work to preside over the management of collection of Rates and Taxes to be used in the maintenance of the community infrastructures such as, roads, bridges, canals, dams, kokers and Community buildings.
Act 14 of 1945 also known as Cap. 28:02 was actually established to be the legal framework for Governance of Village, County, Rural districts and Local Authorities and made provisions for the charging of Rates and Taxes on property owners.
The Colonial Government relationship with the Local Government bodies was generally for oversight and guidance. As such, employment of Overseer and other staff were the decision of the Village Council with a provision for the Minister to approve the appointment. However, the provision of Cap. 28:02 does not suggest that the Minister could or should refuse to approve the decision of the Council.
Underlying the strength of the Local Government system is the provision of the Law to have Local Government Elections every three (3) years for the entire Council and internal elections every year for the position of Chairman and Vice Chairman. The provisions for such elections offered a check balance or review of the performance of the elected officials. Incompetence and under performance would be dealt with by the democratic process on a regular basis so there would be no entrenched perpetual inefficiency and corruption.
I support the decision of the people of Kwakwani to elect their own Local Government Leaders/Representatives. The boldness should be emulated throughout all Local Government Districts in Guyana. Recentralization must be discouraged.
Region # 4: Demerara/Mahaica