Home Letters Government putting “the cart in front of the horse” in managing Guyana
The renewal of local democracy was recently concluded on November 12, 2018 and there was a number of new additional Local Authority Area’s (LAA’s) for the Local Government Elections (LGE) – Caracas/Wyburgs being one of the several new LAA. Unfortunately, after the conclusion of the LGE, this new LAA remains in the dark on the way forward.
The internal elections was held at the Lochaber Primary School impeding on students’ time because there was no other building to accommodate the councillors, likewise staff was sent from elsewhere to conduct this internal election.
Guyanese are aware that good governance, accountability and transparency are vital for the development of all communities, but the Minister of Communities Mr Bulkhan imposed a system whereby no preparation is done to access and implement that system. This is a definite case of “putting the cart in front of the horse”.
The New Amsterdam Town Council (NA M&TC) has been governed by the PNC/R for numerous years, the last two elections were no different, with majority seats garnered by the APNU and the PPP/C and the AFC only managed three and one respectively. The NA M&TC also concluded their internal elections where the Mayor and Deputy Mayor were elected.
The Municipalities operate under the Municipal and District Council Act Chapter 28:01 in section 60 which states that Municipalities must maintain standing committees. The most important standing committee is the finance committee notwithstanding the fact that it ensures proper accountability and transparency which is crucial for the functioning of all Municipalities.
In chapter 28:01 section 62, it also states, “A council may appoint Councillors to be the Chairman and the Vice Chairman of a standing committee” and continues in sections 63, ” A committee of a Council may include persons who are not Councillors but who became of their special skill or experience will, in the opinion of the council, be able to assist in the consideration of the work of the committee.
The law also cautioned that “no person other than a Councillor shall be a member of either the finance committees mentioned in schedule 5 or of a committee prescribed by a constitution order.
Based on the constitution the New Amsterdam Municipality was allowed to elect the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the finance committee but conveniently used the majority of APNU Councillors of the Council to exclude Councillors from the opposition parties, that is the PPP/C and the AFC. The exclusion of the opposition Councillors was a deliberate act to exclude transparency and accountability since this particular Council is managed by the APNU. It must be noted that even the APNU-managed City Council of Georgetown included two PPP/ Councillors on their finance committee.
Why did the New Amsterdam Mayor and Town Council exclude the PPP/C and AFC Councillors from their finance committee?
It is evident that the New Amsterdam Town Council will continue to function without scrutiny, lack of accountability and transparency. We must demand that protection for taxpayer’s monies be paramount. The exclusion of Councillors from the opposition on the finance committee is to avoid scrutiny and continue to misuse public funds.