LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMISSION

The Local Government Commission Act was passed in 2013 to give effect to the Commission as mandated by Article 78A in the Guyana Constitution. The Commission has the function to deal with matters relating to staffing; reviewing and monitoring the performance and implementation of policies; monitor and review existing and proposed legislation; monitor, evaluate and make recommendations on policies; and investigate any matter under its purview and make recommendations to the Minister.

None of the aforementioned could be achieved without the input of the six municipalities, 65 neighbourhood democratic councils, and Amerindian Village Councils. The Commission was not established to operate in a vacuum, pull information out of the air or without the input of the municipalities, neighbourhood and village councils. Its proper function is dependent on the acceptance of this reality and regards for the other equal functioning parts to make the commissioners effective in their work.

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Information the Commission sat on Tuesday but thought it fitting to exclude the Mayor of Georgetown, the largest and most populous municipality, from participating does not sit well. It was also equally disturbing to hear Mayor Pandit Ubraj Narine state when he reached out to the A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) he was informed that they too were not aware of the meeting. The Georgetown Mayor and City Council is led by the APNU+AFC. The action of the Commission therefore suggests that even when leaders are elected by the people, some on the Commission feel they have the authority to exclude others from participation in matters relating to Local Government. This is adversarial and intolerant politics that is anti-government and anti-development.

The privilege given to sit on any government board, institution or commission is that of the people, i.e., all the people. Operating in such capacity cannot be at the instigation or behest of those who seek to sow seeds of division or nurture an environment of hate and intolerance. Guyana cannot develop in such an intractable environment or in a state of tug and war.

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Guyana belongs to all Guyanese. To this end the governmental affairs of Guyana must be managed in the interest of all Guyanese. There must be no place for political immaturity because it is retarding the development of every facet of government. Guyana is 55 years old as an independent nation. This confirms that Guyana is no longer in infancy and it may be necessary to remind appointed and elected representatives of biblical advice that: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up the childish way.”

The Regional and Local Governments, as Central Government and the National Assembly must be allowed to function. One of the reasons why there is an election is to provide the masses the opportunity to elect their leaders to manage the day-to-day affairs of state on their behalf. These leaders are paid by all the people to do just that. It is counterproductive and disrespectful to the people when their representatives are hindered in the performance of their duties. It is also politically myopic to think excluding political rivals is a demonstration of good governance or political maturity. There is an urgent need for matured behaviour. The electorate deserves better and Guyana must do better.

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