Diplomats and Civil Society issue new call for Local Govt. elections

Diplomats and Civil Society issue new call for Local Govt. elections

The American, British and Canadian diplomatic missions in Guyana have joined a new call for Guyana to host local government elections this year. In a joint press release, the diplomats have found support from a number of civil society organisations.

According to the groups, one year has passed since they first issued a call for local government elections to take place although significant progress was made to set the stage for the elections.

“In anticipation of local government elections, the Guyana Elections Commission has been intensifying its preparations and expanding voter education outreach to familiarize people with the voting process.  The Ministry of Local Government has been hosting seminars and workshops with stakeholders to promote voter education.  GECOM’s Chairman has stated that the Commission is fully equipped and ready to stage the elections.  It has already demarcated the boundaries and constituencies in 69 of 71 districts, and each district has been targeted for voter education.  Once a date for elections is announced, GECOM can begin the statutory steps required by law to hold local government elections.  By all accounts, GECOM is well prepared and poised to ensure free, fair and transparent local elections whenever called upon by the government to do so”, the statement said.

 According to the concerned diplomats and civil society members, throughout 2013, all political parties repeatedly expressed their eagerness for local government elections, their desire to make their case to the voters, and their interest in competing in localities throughout the country.

It further stated that as President Ramotar observed in July, local government elections are “badly needed because many of the problems we face are due to the fact that we did not have local government elections.”

They are all convinced that the elections could be held this year.

“The constitution affirms that “local government is a vital aspect of democracy” that should allow as many people as possible to participate actively “in the task of managing and developing the communities in which they live, and it mandates that local elections be held every three years”, the statement noted.

But even with this new call for local government elections, President Donald Ramotar is still to sign into law all of the local government bills which were passed by the National Assembly. The Government has not called local government elections for over two decades but complains repeatedly about the local system has been working in some communities.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login