On Tuesday, March 21, 2018 on Plain Talk, there were some very instructive comments on the state of local governance in one Neighbourhood that includes Plaisance and an area where there are two outstanding residents: the host of the programme Christopher Ram himself, and the other which the latter highlighted – the international airport at Ogle.
The discussion was an honest self-evaluation by two impressive members of the NDC, who obviously wanted to do a better job. That they were dictated to by an employee Overseer was only one frightening example of too many misaligned accountability relationships reported as existing amongst the council. According to these honest brokers even the powers that be could not be relied upon for considered, objective analysis and direction.
Theirs was a most conscientious and humble plea for help. Attentive observers would have been forced to wonder how many similar scenarios of organisational dislocation were being replicated across the local government spectrum:
* the minuscule budget;
* the impotence to upgrade even the meagre rates and taxes established so long before;
* the resultant inability to provide basic statutory services;
* the inhibition of any effort to increase the revenue base on the pretence of providing lapsed or better services;
* the perceived imbalance of an imposed decision that insisted on the outsourcing of contracts for garbage collection, for example, in preference to the council directly managing the provision of that service.
There was so much more in the discussion that would appear to cumulate into a state of performance constipation. What emerged further was the desperate need for substantive training of those who manage and work in the local government process. There are just too many newcomers to positions of authority, who do not know how to make decisions objectively, while excluding personal considerations; and are unfamiliar with the critical relevant legislation.
In this last connection, the host of Plain Talk afforded viewers a brief and incisive reference to the law relating to the establishment of the Local Government Commission, and its Terms of Reference, in relation to the human resources management processes applicable across local government organisations. There could be no argument that the authors of the legislation were inadequately informed about what in the final analysis, is a substantively defective organisation structure.
There needs urgently to be one or a series of workshops to re-examine an archaic governance structure, and enquire of its relevance to the effective future management of our Regional Administrations.
The oldest of these entities continue to set the worst example of incompetence, indifferent to the model they portray for current and future generations of Councillors anywhere.
It is time in any case, for serious consideration to be given to replacing this elective body of actors, with appropriately trained professional appointees.
Somebody should start talking to the University of Guyana!
E B John