A lifetime’s wait for local gov’t elections

Dear Editor,

For the last 20 years, Guyana has failed to convene Local Government Elections (LGE), even though it is lawfully due every three years. This model of development cannot continue and will inevitably set Guyana up for failure and degradation.

Since 1994, we have witnessed the deterioration and even disbandment of many Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and City and Town Councils. And, many of the disbanded institutions were replaced by Interim Management Committees (IMCs). Today, many of these institutions are incapable of effectively serving the citizens of this country.

This is certainly not a scenario I envision for my family, my community, my nation or myself as we move into the future. It is time for us, Guyanese, to take our country back, at the community and national levels! Since 1992, we have undergone four general elections, of which there were no complaints about lack of public education as being a deterrent of holding those elections and no one cared if the citizens were ready or not. And for that reason, sweeping statements and the pronouncement of a few on behalf of the populace to say that we are not ready for Local Government Elections is unacceptable.

Article 71 of the Constitution, states that Local Government is a vital aspect of democracy and shall be organized so as to involve as many people as possible in the task of managing and developing the communities in which they live. For this purpose, the said Article 71 of the Constitution also states that Parliament shall provide for a country-wide system of Local Government through the establishment of organs of local democratic power as an integral part of the political organisation of the state.

An effective Local Government is vital primarily to (i) enable democratic local decision-making and action by, and on behalf of communities; and (ii) promote the social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being of communities.

Recently, we have seen the public display of the breakdown of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown. A series of unfortunate incidents have occurred which has caused me to feel a great deal of disappointment and embarrassment on their behalf and that of my country. It would appear as if these authority figures have forgotten their intended purpose and responsibilities to us the people they serve. I have lost confidence in their capabilities and the restoration of such might be lost.

It is clear that the present system is NOT working to ensure the sustainable development of my country. As a Guyanese, I would like to publicly state that I am ready for LGE! The Guyana Elections Commission has publicly stated that it is ready for LGE! The people are saying that they are ready for LGE! We need a date for LGE!

Please do not continue to deny me my civic duty to vote in LGE! It has only been a lifetime’s wait for me.

Yours faithfully,

Marissa Lowden


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