The People’s National Congress Reform has finally committed to the hosting of Local Government Elections, with the naming of its members for the parliamentary select committee to examine the five pieces of legislation to host local government elections.
Yesterday, Vice Chairman of the PNCR, Basil Williams said that the party is firmly and unequivocally committed to the holding of Local Government Elections, under the reformed Local Government system, as proposed by the Joint Task Force on Local Government Reform.
The committee members are Basil Williams, Lance Carberry and Amna Ally.
Williams told the media, that there is now no barrier to progress on this matter, as long as the Nominees of the Administration demonstrate that they are committed to proceed in good faith.
The PNCR considers that the publication, cleansing and acceptance of the new National Register of Registrants (NRR) must be dealt with urgently, he said, since it is from this NRR that the Preliminary Voters List, for the holding of Local Government Elections, must be extracted.
“Because of the fundamental reforms to the Local Government Electoral System, the Party considers it urgent for GECOM to present its Project Plan.”
These include the project plan for the approval of the new NRR, the implementation of a Comprehensive Public Education Programme to ensure that the Guyanese electorate become fully conversant with the reformed Local Government Electoral System, the demarcation of the Constituency Boundaries to facilitate the election of 50 percent of the Councillors by a First-past-the Post system; the presentation of a final Voters List, after the period of Claims and Objections.
Last week, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, said that there is confidence by the administration that there will be local government elections this year.
He had lashed out at the PNCR for boycotting the committee of selection process, by rejecting that opportunity to name its members to sit on that important select committee.
Dr. Luncheon had stated that the ‘lack of interest’ that is being conveyed by the opposition parties in resolving the issues with the elections, is an obstacle to the holding of the polls.
Over $230M was approved by Cabinet just under two weeks ago, for the purchase of new National ID cards and system upgrade at Guyana Elections Commission. The final two pieces of legislation, the Fiscal Transfers and Municipal and District Councils (Amendment) Bills, were tabled in Parliament last Thursday.
All of these Bills will be debated by a special select committee, before being placed before the full National Assembly for enactment.
On May 21, last, President Bharrat Jagdeo had said that there has been a lot of pandering and consultations, and it is now time to hold the Local Government Elections.
The Head of State said that eight years is enough time for an agreement to be reached and stressed that sufficient time has gone in trying to satisfy ‘every whim and fancy of the opposition.’
The last local government elections were held in 1994.
On March 13, last, GECOM was given the green light to begin producing new identification cards.
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