The Local Government Commission (LGC) will this year establish regulations for the conduct of its affairs and Standard Operating Procedures for the conduct of the business of the Commission.
The commission will also commence an extensive outreach and familiarisation programme of visits/meetings to the ten regions of Guyana.
A press statement dated January 4th from the commission revealed this work plan noting that as Guyana’s first such entity, the establishment of proper and effective guidelines is an imperative which will engage the Commission in the first quarter of 2018.
The statement however did not reveal whether the familiarisation project will include making the various Local Government Authorities (LGAs) aware of the drafted regulations. It explained instead that the meetings will engage constituents namely RDCs; Municipalities; NDCs and Amerindian Councils on Policy and Implementation framework on Taxation and other Revenue measures; Protection of the Environment; Service Delivery; Human Resource Development and other related areas mutually identified.
The eight-member commission was sworn in on October 23 and is empowered to monitor and review the performance and implementation of policies of all local government organs, including policies of taxation and protection of the environment. It is also expected to monitor, evaluate and make recommendations on policies, procedures and practices of all local government organs; investigate any matter under its purview and propose remedial action to the minister; monitor and review all existing and proposed legislation, and or policies and measures relating to local government organs.
Furthermore, the LGC is to deal with all matters relating to the staffing of local government organs and in particular it is “responsible for employment, transfer, discipline and dismissal of staff and approval of remuneration, superannuation, training, leave and promotion of staff”.
The LGC is also empowered to hear appeals instituted by employees who have been dismissed by local government organs and hear and determine disputes arising within a local government area or between any two local government organs.
Importantly, the LGC has the “…power to initiate and conduct investigations into the activities of any local government organ…”
Since its establishment the LGC has according to its statement had a busy two months.
“The Commission held 9 Statutory Meetings during the period of October to December 19th with primary emphasis of these meetings being the establishment of its Institutional Framework,” the statement said.
It further explained that the Commission has earmarked a location for the establishment of its operations in Georgetown consistent with the requirements of the Act, and has advertised for the key personnel that would allow its work to progress.
The initial meetings have also served to allow for the preparation of the Commission’s budget and the allocation of resources in keeping with Section 24.1 of the Local Government Act No.18 of 2013, which states that “The Commission shall determine its own annual budget for submission to the Minister of Finance for inclusion in the annual budget presented to the National Assembly.”