Local Govt. Elections…
From all accounts, the proposed final attempt by Head of State, Bharrat Jagdeo, to have the political stakeholders arrive at a consensus to facilitate the holding of Local Government elections is yet to begin.
When Jagdeo had made the announcement, he was asked whether there was a timeline attached to this final attempt he said that would be determined by the parties meeting on the issue but this meeting is yet to happen.
Leader of the Opposition, Robert Corbin, is out of the country and the Alliance for Change is yet to be formally approached on the issue.
It is also unclear to some, what manner this new attempt will take, namely, will there be a task force-like approach or will it be completed in the Select Committee, which is currently stalled in light of the parties’ representatives’ inability to reach consensus.
Jagdeo in a recent press briefing expressed what he called a sad state of affairs in that a taskforce took eight years and failed to have the reforms come to fruition.
He said that he had met with Leader of the Opposition, Robert Corbin, and it was decided that they would make another attempt to provide the opportunity to see that the reforms become a reality but he could not give a timeline.
According to Jagdeo, the move was as a result of the fact that the administration wanted to approach the 2010 General Elections with some level of civility.
The opposition parties subsequently expressed a willingness to work with the administration to have consensus.
Corbin had told this newspaper that the players are planning to engage at a Parliamentary level in an effort to ensure that the matter is resolved, and they are willing to work with everyone involved, including those groups, who in the past, were not a part of the process before.
Echoing his sentiments was Raphael Trotman, Leader of the AFC, who said that the AFC was also ready and willing to participate in the process both on the basis of good faith and out of respect for the constitution.
He added that it would be of great benefit to the various parties involved if more of the pertinent stakeholders were invited to the sessions, specifically GECOM as well as other representatives of civil society.
In terms of a possible timeline, Corbin emphasised that his party is not talking about a timeline at present but if those involved have the necessary political will, the reforms could be implemented in the window of opportunity available.
Trotman was more direct, stating that if participants were willing to work, the matter could perhaps be laid to rest by the end of July to allow the Local Government Elections to be carried out before the General Elections in 2011.
The reforms were the objective of a task force set up in March 2001, specifically for the purpose of addressing the issue of vesting the citizenry with greater power at the Local Government level. But nine years later there has been no movement in the matter and the most recent attempt also is seemingly at a standstill.
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