AFC calls on gov’t, GECOM to get cracking with local gov’t polls

The Alliance For Change (AFC) today called on government and GECOM to  discharge their responsibilities so that local government elections can be held by August 1, 2014.

Pressure is mounting on both the government and the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) over the elections. Government has to set a date and then GECOM has to work towards meeting this.

In recent days, senior government functionaries have hinted that GECOM might not be prepared for polls by that date and in today’s edition of Stabroek News, Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker said that that the majority of citizens are not ready for local government polls by August 1, 2014. 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 has thus far remained silent on the question of its readiness.

Moses Nagamootoo
Moses Nagamootoo

The AFC statement issued today by former PPP stalwart Moses Nagamootoo, accused the government of shedding crocodile tears and defiling the legacy of late President, Dr Cheddi Jagan.

The AFC statement issued by Moses Nagamootoo follows:

“I am saying that we have the Local Authorities which are there illegally and they are squandering the people’s money. They are not accountable to anybody. Nobody knows what is going on with these Local Authorities. There are a lot of rackets going on and now they have wrecked everything.”

That was Dr. Jagan speaking in the National Assembly on 7th November, 1986 to the second reading of the Local Government Enactment (Amendment) Bill.

Were he alive today, Cheddi Jagan would have castigated those who would shed crocodile tears for him and shout him name in vain, for not holding local government elections over the 17 years since he has died.

The Alliance For Change insist that fresh local government must be held on or by August 1, 2014, as approved by legislation in the National Assembly last month.

The AFC commends the diplomatic community and CIVIC/social organizations for their forthright position in support of holding these elections by August 1.

Everywhere, from our cities to our villages, our communities are in shambles and suffer from gross neglect.

We call on the Chairman of the Elections (Commission) to pronounce on GECOM’s readiness to hold these elections and not allow to pass the ambivalence of the Attorney General when he asserted that GECOM was preparing for National Elections; or the Home Affairs Minister to cast doubts on whether or not this body charged with conducting elections could hold these polls.

The AFC notes that new red herrings are being thrown into the pool of mis-information and doubt such as a 180-day timetable after the date for holding Local Government Elections is announced by the relevant Minister, demarcation of new local government area boundaries and public education.

The AFC urges the holding by August 1 of elections, as a viable start, in the existing NDCs, 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.

AFC also wish to use this occasion not only to urge early local government polls, but to complete the constitutional mandate for fully monitoring the integrity of persons in public life, by having a fully composed and functioning Integrity Commission.

We say that the Executive is in breach of the Constitution that commands the establishment of a Public Procurement Commission. The Executive is in breach of the law that says that the role of Cabinet in procurement shall phase out after the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission.

The PPP/C have for too long paid lip service to the need for good governance, with full accountability and transparency in Guyana, which is why the floodgates of corrupt practices have been open wide!

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