APNU unwilling to move ahead with local gov’t polls in absence of fourth bill

The parties making up APNU are yet to consult on going to local government elections with only three of the four local government bills being assented to by President Donald Ramotar, but as things stand, APNU is unwilling to proceed without the Local Government (Amendment) Bill being signed into law.

“As things stand we are disinclined to proceed into elections without the assent of that final bill,” Opposition Leader David Granger told Stabroek News yesterday while emphasizing that the coalition is yet to consult on the matter. Ramotar last week signed into law the Fiscal Transfers Act, the Municipal and District Councils (Amendment) Act and the Local Government Commis-sion Act, which were all passed unanimously by the National Assembly at its August 7th sitting.

Also passed unanimously despite government’s reservations was the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to wrest ministerial control over local authorities and to vest them in the Local Government Commission. The bill, however, did not receive presidential assent, and Ramotar has since said that the bill is “unconstitutional.”

When contacted yesterday, Granger said APNU wanted the President to fulfil his constitutional obligations and was “disinclined” to accept the non-assent of the fourth Bill.

Local government elections were last held in 1994, two years after the PPP/C won power from the PNCR. According to Guyana’s laws, local government elections should have been held again in 1997, and every three years since then. . This year, western missions and a host of institutions here have called for local government elections.

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