Oct 26, 2008 Letters Comments Off on Count on us to protect the democracy we fought for
I read SN’s article, page 17 of Friday, October 24, titled: “PPP/C councilors accuse Corlette of being dictator’’ and found that it failed in attempting to capture one of the more serious issues on the Regional Chairman’s attempts to suppress views, ideas and opinions.
The press conference by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Councillors of Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Region Four was careful and at pains to point out the difficulty with the clauses in Corlette’s policy order #8, compelling Councillors to indicate their intention to speak inclusive of their subject before meetings of the RDC.
This is not a casual matter and should not be treated lightly since it has far reaching implications, more particularly because it seriously conflicts with the law.
Forget for a moment his reference about what obtains in Parliament. There are no standing orders that provide for any such practice of the Parliament to feature in the business of the RDCs.
In fact, Parliament only requires the submission of a list of speakers for debates and even this is out of convention and practice over the years. May I refer the Regional Chairman to the Parliament and local government system in Britain?
The essence of local government has always been the extent of participation by and for the people with minimal restriction but not without recognition of cardinal rules and procedures for the conduct of meetings.
Time management at meetings have nothing to do with how many councilors speak at a session, it is about the ability and skill of the chairman to accommodate the views, ideas and opinions in an unrestricted manner and at the same time maintain relevance on each subject.
The local government system has always had its own uniqueness, as the bosom of participatory democracy both by those elected to serve constituencies and those who elect you to serve.
If the Regional Chairman admires with such passion the parliamentary system, maybe he is just in the wrong place. But his options are even wider since he has the opportunity to lobby his colleagues on the local government task force to propose legislative change to accommodate his clauses aimed at suppressing views.
The Regional Chairman cleverly tried to hide these clauses among those that are required by the standing orders to extend his agenda to restrict the views, ideas and opinions of others.
If these rules are already provided for by the standing orders why spend so much time and effort to bring them to council in the form of policy orders when it could simply be referred to by rank, name and number.
This latest development by the Regional Chairman adds up with even greater conviction that he displays dictatorial behaviour that has been the turn-off for many councilors, including those in his PNCR camp.
We cannot forget that he was shaped by a political culture that believes in party paramountcy and absolute power. In fact, the rules of the game were inherited by us but no longer suit the likes of Corlette.
We will continue to expose and oppose those attempts by the Regional Chairman that seek to relegate, marginalize or restrict us as elected councilors. Count on us to protect the democracy we fought for as a party for the people of Guyana.
Kwame Mc Coy
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