Ramotar hits out at diplomatic community over call for local gov’t polls

President Donald Ramotar yesterday lashed out at the diplomatic community over the contention that the absence of local government elections is undermining democracy in the country.

In a jab at US spying on its citizens, Ramotar said, “I do not agree with this idea that the lack of local government elections was undermining democracy… what undermines democracy is when you listen to everybody’s telephone calls and read their emails and ban them from having collective bargaining in their own country in different parts of North America and Europe”.

In attendance at the Annual General Meeting of the Private Sector Commission at the Pegasus Hotel were Canadian and British High Commissioners Nicole Giles and Andrew Ayre along with other members of the diplomatic community, local parliamentarians and members of the business community.

Ramotar’s comments came in the wake of US Ambassador Brent Hardt’s renewed call for the holding of the long overdue elections, during an interview with Stabroek News.

Ramotar stressed that he had no problems with calling local government elections but he noted that “some things” needed sorting out first.

“I too would love to have local government elections as early as possible. There is no resistance on my part but you would have probably seen in the papers today, some of the political things I have been talking about all the time, some of the uncertainties of the politics in the country,” he stated. “…We are ready to have it. We are always ready to have local government elections,” he added.

With local government polls due since 1997, Hardt pointed out that their absence was robbing communities of vital relationships with their political representatives. “One of the challenges Guyana faces in its political system is a lack of connectivity between people and their government,” he said, while opining that the polls could be transformative for the country.

Hardt said he was still perplexed as to why the elections have not yet been called and he had pointed to past declarations by President Ramotar that his administration wanted to hold the elections but that legislative measures needed to be put in place. He said that Ramotar had explained that many of the problems his government faced were due to the fact that there had not been local government elections. “Certainly there was a history in recent years why that didn’t happen all those years but all of those issues are no longer relevant. At this time, I think it’s time for the people of Guyana to enjoy local governance… effective, elected local governance,” Hardt said, while noting that the holding of the polls is a constitutional requirement.

The ambassador suggested that with reform legislation now in place and the Guyana Elections Commission indicating that it is prepared to go within four to six months, it seemed as though a political judgment call was being made by the administration. “This is an issue that cuts to the core of the constitution of the country and to legislation that is already in place,” he stated.

Hardt said he believed that the president can make a name for himself should he be the one to call the elections and urged him to seize the opportunity. “I think President Ramotar has a historic opportunity to be that president that restores local governance to the country and I do hope he seizes that opportunity and gives people the chance to be more involved in their communities,” he said. “It would be such a boost to the country to communities across the country.”

More in Local News

The car, PSS 1236 after it stuck the three victims.

Driver in accident with St Lucian cubs jailed for 10 months

The police today said that the driver of the motor vehicle who was involved in an accident with two St Lucian cub scouts has been jailed for 10 months.

default placeholder

Draft bill sees state assets recovery via civil proceedings

The draft State Assets Recovery Bill 2016 envisages non-conviction based, civil recoveries of property over $10m with a 12-year limitation period and wide powers will be available to the agency to be set up under the law to gather information.

Raphael Trotman

Gov’t will not be ‘lectured to in the press’ on forest concessions, Trotman says

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman yesterday said that the government will not be “lectured” to in the press on the issue of forestry concessions, while announcing that the arrival of officials from a company in China that may take over the operations of the controversial Baishanlin is being awaited.

Black Bush murder victims laid to rest: Rice farmer, Pawan Chandradeo, 37; his fifteen-year-old son, Jaikarran Chandradeo, both of 163 Mibicuri North, Black Bush Polder and his brother-in-law Naresh Rooplall, 33, of Number 75 Village, Corentyne were yesterday laid to rest following an emotional funeral. They were buried at the Babu John Cemetery, Port Mourant. The trio were found dead on Friday, less than a day after they had left to go on a fishing trip in Black Bush Polder. Intense investigations are underway into the murders. Photo shows the caskets of the three victims and part of the crowd that gathered.

Black Bush triple murder suspects brought to city

Seven men, including the main suspect who was arrested in connection with the Black Bush Polder, Corentyne triple murder were transported to Georgetown on Tuesday evening and are currently being questioned by ranks from the Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID), Major Crimes Unit.

Anthony Jhagroo

Bulletin issued for suspect in murder of mechanic

The police yesterday issued a  bulletin for Anthony Jhagroo, who is wanted for questioning in relation to two offences: escaping from lawful custody and the murder of mechanic, Yugeshwar Shiwcharan.

default placeholder

Five cops under close arrest over stolen gold

Five police officers attached to the Brickdam Police Station are currently under close arrest after they allegedly stole a quantity of raw gold from some miners last Friday.


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: