Ramjattan says AFC wants local gov’t commission set up urgently

-party General Secretary nominated

While the coalition government struggles to identify three persons both capable and willing to sit on the Local Government Commission (LGC), the Alliance For Change (AFC) has recommended its General Secretary Marlon Williams for one of the seats.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, AFC leader Khemraj Ramjattan stated that his party is keen to have the LGC fully constituted.

“It is the party’s position that the nominees for the commission should be fast-tracked and that the Guyanese people would benefit from having a fully constituted LGC. The party is fully in tune with the need to have this commission constituted and will continue to play its part to ensure that it does all that is required to ensure that that is done,” Ramjattan explained.

Asked by Stabroek News to identify efforts made by his party to see the LGC established, Ramjattan said they had “gone through the gamut as a party to nominate Marlon Williams as candidate.”

He further noted that Cabinet has received suggestions on other nominees but some were identified as unsuitable, while others declined to be considered.

“Some names were given and we had indicated that some of the persons should not be there and confirmation from some persons whom we had identified was not received. Some people when we had started the naming process said we might not want to; we are retired or whatever,” Ramjattan said.

Ramjattan, with input from Minister of Public Telecommunications and party Vice-Chair Cathy Hughes, explained to reporters that names had been received from other Cabinet members and the process has gone a far way.

“The names of other players have been put forward and we are in the process of looking at that as we speak so that it can be completed,” he added, while noting that while the impression is being given that government and his party “do not want the LGC, the AFC has been quite clear that we want the LGC.”

In fact, according to Ramjattan he raised the matter of the LGC at last Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting and it is expected that within a week or two the matter will be settled.

The Commission is provided for in Guyana’s Constitution under Article 78 (a), which states, “Parliament shall establish a Local Government Commission, the composition and rules of which empower the commission to deal with as it deems fit, all matters related to the regulation and staffing of local government organs and with dispute resolution within and between local government organs.”

Under the law, it will not only oversee municipalities and Neighbourhood Dem-ocratic Councils but also Regional Democratic Councils as well as Amerindian Village Councils.

The legislation also provides for the composition of the LGC as eight members: three nominated by the president, one nominated by the minister after consultation with the 71 Local Government Authorities, one nominated by unions operating in the local government sector and three nominated by the Leader of the Opposition after consultation with all parliamentary parties.

In April, 2016, the Committee of Appointments named Andrew Christopher Garnett, of the Guyana Local Government Officers’ Union, as the nominee from the trade unions. This nomination was approved by the House in August 2016.

Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo had also identified former Georgetown Town Clerk Carol Sooba and former Local Government Ministers Norman Whittaker and Clinton Collymore as his nominees.

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