The four recently-passed local government bills, necessary for the holding of local government elections, remain with the Chambers of Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall and National Assembly Clerk Sherlock Isaacs says he does not know when they will be returned.
Nandlall has said that he is not involved in the preparation of the bills. He did not return several calls made to him yesterday.
The bills—the Local Government Commission Bill, the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, the Municipal and District Councils (Amendment) Bill and the Fiscal Transfers Bill—all passed on the last sitting of the National Assembly before the annual recess, were all sent to the AG’s office last week to receive assent certificates prior to being sent for presidential assent.
The certificates would indicate that the provisions of the bills are in line with the laws of Guyana.
Once the certificates are issued, Isaacs told Stabroek News, the bills would be sent back to his office before being sent to President Donald Ramotar for him to give his assent.
Ramotar’s assent to the bill would put into law the legal framework for a reformed local government system, for which polls have been delayed since 1997.
The Guyana Elections Commission has indicated that elections can be held in as much as six months as long as the go ahead is given by Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud.
Again though, Persaud cannot give this go ahead until the president gives his assent to the bills.
Once the president receives the bills, the constitution gives him 21 days within which he must make a decision on whether or not he will give his assent.
Isaacs said he did not know when the bills would return to his office, but expressed optimism that it would not take long since the Chief Parliamentary Counsel and representatives of the AG’s office were involved in their preparation.