On January 7, a letter appeared in the Stabroek News, by Mohamed Khan (‘Vishnu Samaroo should have been Chairman of Region Two’), in which he made reference to the appointment of the Regional Chairman of Region Two by the leadership of the People’s Progressive Party. Mention was also made a few days earlier, this time in the Kaieteur News also about the appointment of the said person as Regional Chairman of the said region.
Now for the benefit of the members of the public who may not be knowledgeable, the Chairman and Vice-chairman of any region are elected and not appointed, and this is done only after the members of the Regional Democratic Council elected by the various political parties meet, and an election for that purpose is held.
Section 20 of the Local Democratic Act, states that the clerk of the council, meaning the Regional Executive Officer shall call a meeting of the council, to elect a chairman and vice-chairman.
The number of members of the Region Two Regional Democratic Council is 17, the number of seats allocated to the contesting parties at the regional election is decided by the amount of votes obtained by the various parties and the votes for seats are tabulated by the Guyana Elections Commission, The allocation of seats obtained at the November 28, 2011 Regional Elections is as follows: PPP 12 seats, APNU 3 seats, AFC 2 seats.
Because the majority of seats were obtained by the PPP it is expected and reasonable that they will nominate a person from within that 12 and vote solidly for that person as Chairman, and the same thing is likely to happen for the position of Vice Chairman. It may very well be that said person who was mentioned in the letter to which I am referring, was agreed by the party beforehand, but to say that a chairman was appointed prior to the members of the council meeting is wrong and may be misleading.
It has become noticeable that the majority of people, especially in the rural communities, do not understand the Act pertaining to local government. The Municipality, the Neighbourhood Democratic Council and also the Regional Democratic Council, as well as the fact that local government elections have not taken place for the past 17 years, have not helped people to know how important these elections are, or to be interested in them.
It is imperative that the Local Government Ministry in conjunction with the Guyana Elections Commission take the necessary steps to inform and educate people in this regard, before these elections touted to be before 2013 are held.
A W Cordis