Diplomats, civil society push for local govt. elections

Diplomats, civil society push for local govt. elections

The Government and the political leaders in Guyana are once again being pushed to ensure that the country hosts local government elections this year. The last time Guyana hosted local government elections was in 1994.

In a Joint statement, The British, Canadian, American and European Missions in Guyana along with a number of civil society groups called for there to be no more delays in the hosting of polls.

According to the statement “at the start of 2013, political party leaders, civil society, private sector representatives, and members of the diplomatic community all expressed confidence that this would be the year in which Guyana would move forward to ensure that its citizens benefit from strong and effective local governance.  We are now midway through the year and, with a concerted effort, local government elections — and the safer, more prosperous, and more democratic communities they can help build — are within reach.”

The statement noted that after “months of debate, hard work, ad compromise, the parliamentary Select Committee on Local Government has forged agreement on the four bills necessary to establish a more modern and effective system of local governance”.  It described that development as a significant and positive step forward.  “We welcome this action on the part of Guyana’s elected representatives to come together in the national interest”, the statement added.

The groups believe that the path is now clear for approval of the four bills in the National Assembly before the upcoming annual recess.  They said “we encourage all parties, with the support of civil society, to build on the constructive progress and goodwill thus far achieved to complete these vital pieces of legislation in the coming days so that technical preparations for local government elections can begin as soon as possible”.

The groups believe that there should be immediate moves to get work done on educating and sensitizing citizens about local government elections that were not held in nearly two decades.

“The path is now clear for the restoration of effective democratic local governance in 2013.  That is good news for the citizens in every community in Guyana”, the joint statement concluded. It was signed by

The statement was signed by the British High Commission, Delegation of the European Union to Guyana, Embassy of the United States of America, Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Guyana Association of Women Lawyers, Guyana Bar Association Guyana Manufacturing and Service Association, Guyana Trades Union Congress, High Commission of Canada, Private Sector Commission and Transparency Institute Guyana Inc.

Just recently, the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission indicated that the commission would be ready for elections once all systems are put in place. He however noted that there would have to be intense training and re-education on the local government process.


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