AFC joins calls for local gov’t polls by August deadline

-urges Gecom Chairman to break silence on preparation

Opposition party AFC yesterday called for the run off of long-delayed local government polls by August 1, while accusing the administration of spreading misinformation about the nation’s readiness.

The call was made by AFC Vice-Chairman Moses Nagamootoo one day after Junior Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker declar-ed that the vast majority of the populace is not prepared for the holding of the elections by August.

Nagamootoo, however, accused the government of shedding crocodile tears and defiling the legacy of late President, Dr Cheddi Jagan, who he said would castigate them for not holding the polls in the 17 years since his death. “Everywhere, from our cities to our villages, our communities are in shambles and suffer from gross neglect,” he declared.

 Moses Nagamootoo
Moses Nagamootoo

Pressure is mounting on both the government and the Guyana Elections Commission (Gecom) over the elections, which are now due by the August 1 deadline recently set by the National Assembly.

Although government has to set a date and Gecom has to work towards meeting it, senior government functionaries have hinted that Gecom might not be prepared for polls by the deadline.

Whittaker told Stabroek News that a lot more public awareness work has to be done so as to ensure that the public is knowledgeable and interested enough in the polls, which were last held in 1994. He suggested that calling polls now would see a very low turnout.

He said the work is ongoing and he would give the order for local government elections when Gecom says it is ready, and “when we are satisfied that the preparations are in place.”

Observers say Whittaker’s statement is completely without relevance or foundation and adds to the growing view that the PPP/C does not want to face local government elections for fear of heavy losses in key parts of the country.

On Tuesday, civil society bodies and key western missions called for steps to be taken to clear the way for the elections, which have not been held since 1994. Gecom, meanwhile, has thus far remained silent on the question of its readiness, although spokesman Vishnu Persaud recently said that it will be ready to hold local government polls 180 days after a date is set by the local government minister.

In a statement issued yesterday, Nagamootoo said the AFC commended the diplomatic community and civil society organisations for their forthright position in support of holding the elections by August 1.

At the same time, he said the party was calling on Gecom Chairman Dr Steve Surujbally to pronounce on Gecom’s readiness to hold the elections rather than allow contrary statements recently made by government spokespersons.

Recently, PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee said that government-nominated commissioners were doubtful about the commission’s readiness to hold local government elections. “We get the distinct impression from our commissioners that it doesn’t seem that they are ready for local government elections,” he had told a news conference.

Persaud had also indicated that Gecom is still engaged with the demarcation of boundaries, due to the “dynamic expansion of housing” in some communities, and to ensure that persons from these communities are guaranteed the right to contest and to vote at the elections.

But

Nagamootoo said the Gecom timetable and the issues of public education and the demarcation of new local government area boundaries were red herrings. However, in light of them he said the AFC was urging the holding by August 1 of elections, “as a viable start, in the existing NDCs [Neighbourhood Democratic Councils], which need no further demarcation and in the towns, including Georgetown.”

“We are against any political, bureaucratic and administrative humbugs that have jettisoned elections, due since 1997,” he added.

 

 

 

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Facebook Live set to broadcast T20 games

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Caribbean Premier League organisers have combined with online social networking service, Facebook, to broadcast all 34 games of the new season, live to 40 countries.

default placeholder

Increased venues, franchises in pipeline as CPL seeks expansion

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad,  CMC – Caribbean Premier League organisers say they will explore pushing the increasingly popular Twenty20 tournament into Asia, as well as expanding the number of franchises involved and hosting them in North American cities.

default placeholder

Grade Six results to be released Tuesday

The Ministry of Education today said that results of the National Grade Six Assessment –NGSA will be released on Tuesday, July 5, 2016.

The ambassadors group with UG Vice Chancellor Ivelaw Griffith (seated fifth from left)

UG needs emergency $$ to prevent collapse

A conference of local and diaspora stakeholders of the University of Guyana (UG) has called on the government to provide emergency funding to the institution to reverse its “imminent collapse”.

Sattaur Gafoor in the temporary office which was set up after the fire

Gafoor’s, insurers in ‘stalemate’ over Houston Complex repairs

There is a “stalemate” between Gafoors and its insurance underwriters over how to proceed on a building that was damaged in the massive fire at the company’s Houston Complex last month but some reconstruction has started.

20160629digicel

Duo stole over $31M in electronics from Digicel

Two men were yesterday charged with stealing over $31 million in electronics belonging to Digicel Guyana Incorporated. Albert De Freitas, 27, and Basdeo Sackoon, 26, appeared before city magistrate Dylon Bess charged with stealing a total of $31,107,510 in items from the telecoms company.

default placeholder

Driver gets one year in jail for causing boy’s death

A man was yesterday sentenced to one year in jail after being found guilty of three offences, including causing the death of an 11-year-old child by dangerous driving.

default placeholder

Gov’t support for city’s financial measures to hinge on transparency, public interest

President David Granger on Monday said that central government’s support for the city’s measures to make itself financial sustainable would rest on transparency and the public’s interest.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: