I agree with Miss Mosa about (traditional) voter apathy relevant to Local Community Elections. An additional reason to those usually advanced is simply the perception – and reality – that both the governing party and its opposition counterpart find ways to continue control of even independent persons or groups elected to manage local authorities. How? Why?
The central Georgetown-based Ministries of Communities and Finance are pivotal to how much “independence” or autonomy local community authorities are allowed. The Administrative Regions submit their (neighbourhoods’) budgets to the Communities Minister. He then has to “reason” with his powerful counterpart, Finance Minister Hon. Winston “Goodlife” Jordan. The annual national budget has the last word and decision governing how much funding goes towards the Regions’ and Local authorities’ capital projects.
Right there the financial “independence” of the local administrators and managers is sort of compromised. Community rates and taxes would never suffice. There should be permanent local fund-raising ventures.
There are also other permissions and approvals which Georgetown holds over the Regional and Neighbourhood “governments.”
Imagine this scenario: I win election as the residents’ choice – as an independent candidate for a specific constituency on Monday. Two months later, I mobilise resources to establish a large private modernistic parking facility at an appropriate site in the constituency. As developer and manager I will then have to satisfy numerous “authorities” outside of the constituency in terms of certain “conditions”, standards, safety, legalities, etc. necessary, but certainly not complete independent management or governance!
Why central government intervention in local government? There are actually a few good valid reasons. Frankly Speaking, I was in sync with those commentators who cautioned – before the historic 2016 local elections – that qualified, experienced administrators and managers were in woefully short supply throughout the country’s local authorities. (Thanks in part to wilful neglect by the PPP/C Administrations.) Result is what we hear and see weekly – dirt poor management and accountability after candidates are elected and officials appointed.
Of course – and unfortunately- government is also mindful of the cancerous corruption malady which also eats away at local government undertakings.
A wise, indifferent and non-confident electorate therefore is never enthused to go vote even when genuine community-based candidates promise very local improvements. And Frankly Speaking, when the usual party rivalry surfaces, “normal” folks shun local polls also.
“Overseas votes?” Ho-ho!
Okay friends, my lead caption about New Yorkers – Guyanese from Richmond Hill – Little Berbice – Queens – returning to vote in local elections on Monday, was meant to be an attention-grabber.
I guess only the most die-hard financially–comfortable overseas supporters will journey back home to support any party by actually voting. What really is it worth for your party to win when you’re well-domiciled legally elsewhere? (There can be long-term benefits but that’s for another time.)
But you must keep overseas voting for another debate. Some developed countries still allow it. And there must be Guyanese overseas residents whose names are still lawfully on local electoral rolls. They are still eligible to vote! Diaspora comrades still contribute heavily to their respective parties. Do you know how many PNC comrades trekked home to do strategic grassroots work for His Excellency’s party early in 2015? Discuss…
Fit, healthy leaders necessary
Electors and all taxpayers should easily agree that the treasury’s funds should not be expended on fancy dental work and “vanity medical procedures” for government ministers as was done during previous administrations.
The APNU+AFC outfit claims it discontinued such obscenity after entering office. Instead it is assisting with medical insurance policies for cabinet ministers. Well done.
We elect politicians who can become Members of Parliament and ministers. To serve us well they need to stay healthy. Just as the Minister of Health has to superintend all of us being healthy by assisting with prevention and treatment of our individual and collective medical aliments.
I would invite our spry young journalists to do pieces on Guyanese life-expectancy rates, as well as to advise poor folks how to get the best nutrition from affordable foods.
Incidentally, do you realise that His Excellency’s GECOM Chairman has outlived four of his prominent counterparts? Who? Well Justice Rudolph Harper, Doodnauth Singh, Randolph Kirton and Charles Liburd were names submitted by Desmond Hoyte to President Cheddi for consideration as GECOM chairman before the 1997 elections. The sixth name on the list was Justice Patterson, His Excellency’s eighty-plus current chairman. All the other five have passed on! Who says His Excellency’s Chairman is not fit? (If really not proper?) Congrats to the Chairman!
Lots to ponder…
1. Local Government/Management in Region 6? When one reads of the bureaucratic sloth and mismanagement causing a near collapse in Public Health Care in Berbice at this time in 2018, you understand the implications of so-called local government. Nineteen doctors are also on leave.
2. So did your comrades educate you about just how to vote on Monday? PR and first-past-the post voting on the one ballot paper? Who is the individual candidate for your constituency/area? Ever saw him/her before?
3. When Devi, Devanand and David can’t access poor people’s health services in Berbice, they’ll never return when they land in Queens, NY, NY.
4. Never thought I’ll be saturated – really fed up reading about murders in Guyana and Trinidad. How cheap, really worthless has life become to the enraged? The ignorant?
5. Welcome back to the President this weekend.
’Til next week!