The councillors of the Kwakwani Neighbourhood Democratic Council are currently at loggerheads as it relates to the interpretation of a section in the Local Government Act which speaks to tied results for the positions of Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
The nominations of persons to vie for the positions of Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the Kwakwani Neighbourhood Democratic Council resulted in a tie.
Based on the results, the Kwakwani United for Progress (KUP) is calling for the residents of the community to be a part of the vote to break the ties.
However, the A Partnership for National Unity councillors interpreted the Act to mean the 12 councillors.
According to Councillor Charles Thom, two APNU+AFC councillors tied for the Vice-Chairman position. They were Carl Liverpool and Kelvin Daly. Competing for the Chairmanship were Merna Adrian of the APNU+AFC and Juanita Leacock of the Kwakwani United for Progress.
Thom said that based on his group’s understanding of Section 28(6) of the Local Government Act Chapter 28:02, the second vote should involve the registered voters of the Kwakwani community.
The section states, “If more councillors than one are nominated for the office of chairman, the overseer shall forthwith proceed to take the votes of the councillors present and the councillor securing the greatest number of votes shall forthwith be declared to be elected as chairman.
But if there is no election on account of an equality of votes the overseer shall immediately fix a day within the last ten days of the year for the election, by the registered voters, of a chairman from the councillors receiving the greatest number of equal votes, and the election shall be held and conducted and a return or election made in all respects in the same manner as provided for the election of village councillors.”
According to Thom, his group has interpreted the section as mandating that authorities in charge of Local Government once there is a tie for chairman, to give the registered voters of the villages in question, the opportunity to elect the chairman of their choice.
The councillor said that the ties occurred since one of the APNU+AFC councillors voted in favour of the KUP group when voting for the position of chairman. He said that the one APNU+AFC councillor had made known his displeasure concerning how the NDC was being run and chose to vote outside of party lines.
There are seven APNU+AFC and five KUP members on the council.
Thom said that the APNU+AFC members are contending that the second vote should involve the same 12 councillors which previously voted.
Based on the law, if the second vote produces the same result then the Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan who is the subject minister would have to intervene and appoint persons to fill the positions.
Thom said that the KUP is calling on the legal minds of the country, particularly those involved in politics to assist the council to clarify the interpretation of the Act so that the correct step can be taken when moving forward.
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