Local Government Election a possibility next year
There is a possibility that the long anticipated Local Government Elections may be held next year, enhancing governance at the community level.
This was hinted by Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, who indicated that funding for the elections may appear in the 2013 National Budget under Guyana Elections Commission.
“Local Government elections will have to be addressed vigorously and maintained high on the agenda,” he said.
He related that Local Government Bills have been reintroduced in Parliament and based on the support of the major political parties, they will be enacted. Subsequently, elections will be held, ending the 18-year gap since the last one.
In the interim, the joint Opposition has been voicing their disquiet over the inadequacies in the Local Government system. In addition, the Local Government and Regional Development Minister has been accused of usurping the functions of the Regional Democratic Councils (RDC) and frustrating Regional progress.
However, Dr. Luncheon said, “I am not aware that those contentions found favour with the administration both in terms of its accuracy. I happen to know that the question of the Ministry usurping the functions of the RDC should be laid to rest.”
One glaring reason why Local Government Election is needed, is the fallout between the Region Eight Democratic Council and the Government appointed Regional Executive Officer, Ronald Harsawack.
He noted that many recognize how fundamental the problems have been since Local Government Elections were held in 1994. He opined that the efficiencies in managing the Local Government System have worsened and essentially played havoc at the community level.
“As a consequence, apart from the commitment of President Ramotar for having Local Government Elections, a commitment shared by the Opposition, the PPP Administration has made changes, … and these have been done to make more effective and more efficient the Local Government system in the period of that hiatus until Local Government elections,” Dr. Luncheon stressed.
As such, there has been a heightened focus on the delivery of public goods and services at the local level. But this has been matched by community protests which Dr. Luncheon said were the basis for justification for interventions made by Government in dealing with issues within the Local Government System.