I happened to have read the well expressed letter by Mr Norman Whittaker in the Stabroek News captioned ‘The government has been employing manipulative tactics to suppress the work of the Local Government Commission’ (April 6) and am in full agreement with its general tenor. Using Mr Whittaker’s word, out of the “bowels” of our Constitution, Article 78 to be exact, the people through their representatives saw it fit to establish a Local Government Commission, not as a rubber stamp constitutional body, but as one that functions and carries out its role as per the wishes of the people.
The problem in my opinion appears to be a President who through his political creation, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan, seems reluctant to submit to a constitutional system of checks and balances. These are the characteristics of a creeping dictatorship.
The work of the Minister outlived its relevance constitutionally once the Commission was appointed in October 2017. Thus I struggle to comprehend the level of political insecurity of President Granger. After all, the Chairman of the Commission is a PNC man, Mr Mortimer Mingo.
Why can’t Mr Granger respect our Constitution that mandates the Commission “to deal with, as it deems fit, all matters relating to the regulation and staffing of the local government organs”. Why six months after their appointment, we have a situation where the Minister of Communities is undemocratically usurping the role of the Commission?
The people in their wisdom did not authorize a minister to be in charge of our local government system, so how can Mr Granger overturn their decision? Why this inconsistency from Mr Granger? Isn’t he the one who unfailingly claims that he is a staunch adherent of the Guyana Constitution, so why is he breaking the rules today? Or is it a case of do as I say but not as I do? These acts of gross hypocrisy from President Granger must be exposed and opposed and he must know that there is no room at the top for non-transparency and deception.
The question of empowerment in accordance with the Constitution of the Local Government Commission is all important now that we are set for December 2018 local government elections. Guyana has had enough of these stale minds and demands a boldness of spirit from Mr Granger that will allow a thousand new flowers to bloom by allowing the system to function according to the wishes of the people. What Mr Granger and Mr Bulkan are practising is akin to pouring new wine into old skins, and leaves a bitter taste of democracy Burnham style, where only the wishes of the ‘Kabaka’ mattered.