Opposition Leader Joe Harmon has declared that local government elections which are due next year, must be held on time.
In a direct response to the President’s contention that the Elections Commission must first be fixed before local elections could take place, Mr. Harmon said there will be resistance to any plan by the PPP Civic administration to delay local elections.
“The APNU+AFC takes serious umbrage to statements made by Irfaan Ali to the effect that LGE, which is constitutionally due in 2021 will not be held until GECOM is fixed to his party’s satisfaction – not the people of Guyana’s satisfaction – I wish to place on record for Irfaan Ali and all who feel that they can violate the constitution with impunity that there will be serious resistance to this effort if they persist with it”, Mr. Harmon told his party’s Regional Councillors during a visit to the RDC Office.
He reminded that Local Government is a vital aspect of democracy and shall be organized so as to involve as many people as possible in the task of managing and developing the communities in which they live.
“For this purpose, the said Article 71 of the Constitution also states that Parliament shall provide for a countrywide system of Local Government through the establishment of organs of local democratic power as an integral part of the political organization of the State”.
Local Government Elections were last held in 2018.
President Irfaan Ali recently told reporters that owing to various issues at the Elections Commission, he believes the Commission will have to be fixed before there could be talk of local elections next year.
The Opposition Leader said the APNU+AFC coalition will not allow the government not to call local government elections and return to the days of installing Interim Management Committees.
He said “before 2015 when APNU+AFC came into office we had 18 years without Local Government Elections. The PPP under its then Local Government Ministers, Ganga Persaud and Norman Whittaker went around the country and dismissed elected NDC’s, installing in their places hand-picked Interim Management Committees. These IMC’s answered directly to Freedom House. We will have no more of that my dear Guyanese sisters and brothers. This will not be condoned”.
Mr. Harmon said local elections must be held so that communities can choose their leaders.
“So what Irfaan Ali is proposing is again an abandonment of constitutionally guaranteed Local Government Elections which is critical to Democratic renewal. These are more compelling signs that the PPP regime is intent on going back to their days of DICTATORSHIP in Guyana. I am sending this clear signal to all who know their “ABC” alphabet and those with ears to hear, the people of Guyana will resist a dictatorship of the PPP. Local Government Elections must be held.”
The APNU+AFC Coalition has issued a call on the Guyana Elections Commission to begin its preparations for local government elections and the preparation of a new and clean voters list. The coalition also wants to see resources allocated in the next budget to cater for house-to-house registration.