I agree with the view that the holding of Local Government elections is long overdue. The current fiasco at the City Council is testimony to this imperative.
What I disagree with is the tendency to blame both the PPP and the PNC administrations for failing to hold local government elections over the last two decades.
Your columnist Iana Seales, was given front page coverage (Stabroek News, Saturday May 10, 2014) when she wrote:
“The failure of successive PPP/C administrations to hold local government elections over the last two decades makes a mockery of the `return to democracy’ that the ruling party has touted since 1992.”
This is a complete misrepresentation of the facts. One of the first actions taken by the PPP/C administration after it assumed power after twenty-eight years of undemocratic rule was to hold local government and municipal elections. The fact that Mayor Hamilton Green still occupies the seat of Mayor of Georgetown is indicative of that fact.
It is the intransigence of the PNC and the roadblocks that it has put in the way of local government elections that is mainly responsible for the delays in the holding of local government elections. The PPP is not afraid and has never been afraid of going to elections, be they national or local. In fact the PPP has always been a strong advocate of democratic elections and has never failed to win a majority or a plurality in all democratic elections since the early 1950’s.
This is in stark contrast to the PNC which rigged all elections since 1968 including the Local Government elections of 197O which was completely farcical and totally unrepresentative of the will of the electorate.
The new system of voting with a hybrid of the constituency and proportional representation would require a robust voter education programme which GECOM needs to put in place before any elections are held. Failure to do so could lead to misinformed choices and an aberration of the democratic process.