The Alliance for Change’s fourth National Conference is slated for January 28 and it is the
expectation of Deputy Mayor of Georgetown and AFC member Sherod Duncan that among the issues to be discussed, Local Government has to be one.
Being one of the vocal personalities in the local government arena since the March 2016 elections, Duncan was contacted by this publication to ascertain whether he would urge his party to place more emphasis on the issues affecting local democratic organs and communities.
Speaking with Kaieteur News last Thursday, the Deputy Mayor said that he believes his party needs to recalibrate its efforts, in view of the Cummingsburg Accord elapsing, and also with a view of its position in the 2019 Local Government Elections, and holistically, its position on a range of local government issues.
“I believe the impending Conference will offer us an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues, local government being one.”
When asked what are some of the issues he believes deserve to be urgently addressed, Duncan said, “Our vision for the city or any other Municipality or Neighbourhood Democratic Council, our positions on issues like vending; whether Municipalities can better be served by executive Mayors; how we proceed with property re-evaluations and a host of other issues; our view on increasing our tax base to be able to balance our budgets; our views on additional revenue streams for municipalities and NDCs”.
According to Duncan, the AFC would largely need to engage a policy plan as a legislative agenda on the various issues which he outlined. He said that amendments would have to be made to existing laws and new legislation may need to be enacted.
Providing an example of existing legislation which requires consideration, Duncan referred to the Municipal and District Councils Act Cap. 28:01. He said that the Act clearly indicates that certain types of vending is illegal. “We either confirm to the legislation or change it. 28:01 says barbering-related vocation must not be done in public, open places; hence how it is being done now is illegal. We either change the law or conform to it. Selling chicken (poultry meat) in public, in the street outside of a market is illegal, yet we allow it.”
Further, Duncan said that the responsibility for drainage of the city is something which needs to be looked at under the Act. He said too that attention needs to be placed on how tied elections at the Local Government level can be resolved.
He added, “I believe also as there are responsibilities and duties for councillors in 28:01, there should be the same for Mayors and Deputies, so that we can utilize the energies of our municipal leaders distinctly, efficiently and in an orderly manner”.
When asked if he would be willing to take up a leadership role in the party, Duncan said, “I have been approached by several persons to contest for various positions, I am ready to continue serving my party in whatever capacity it deems fit. The Party has my full commitment at Local Government and will have the same in whatever other capacity it deems necessary for me to serve in.”
The AFC’s Conference will be held at the Vreed-en-Hoop Secondary School in Region Three. Sixteen positions will be contested at the event. The party operates under an Electoral College system comprising 275 delegates allocated as follows: Region One – 10 delegates; Region Two – 20 delegates; Region Three – 15 delegates; Region Four – 75 delegates; Region Five – 20 delegates; Region Six – 40 delegates; Region Seven – 10 delegates; Region Eight – 10 delegates; Region Nine – 10 delegates; Region Ten – 20 delegates; Women for Change – 10 delegates; Youths for Change – 10 delegates; USA Chapter – nine delegates; Canada Chapter – six delegates; Caribbean Chapter – six delegates and the United Kingdom Chapter – four delegates.
According to the party’s General Secretary, voting will be by secret ballot and nominations will close at noon tomorrow, January 23.
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