Government REOs hijacked budget from RDCs

Dear Editor,
The recently held National Conference of Local Democratic Organs (NCLDO) was another forum where the rhetoric of David Granger and Ronald Bulkan was portrayed to convince stakeholders that technically, the development of the various local organs is basically to increase rates, taxes and revenue collection on residents in order to develop their communities.
The deception of the decentralisation of governance and putting more powers in the hands of citizens to participate in the development of their communities is another episode of the dramatic skills that is portrayed by this APNU/AFC coalition Government throughout its tenure in Government. The restoration of Local Democracy is a farce that is being used as a mantra by David Granger to mislead the people.
The Minister of Communities is using taxpayers’ monies to give stipends to overseers and then use these officials to undermine the NDCs and the Regional Executive Officers for the various RDCs are also being used to undermine the elected Regional Democratic Councils.
Recently the Budget proposals for 2020 was hijacked by the REOs, some of these proposals were either determined by illegal or enclosed meetings or by the REO themselves. The RDCs are mandated to be the agency to ensure that people’s rights and voices are represented in the budget proposals, unfortunately, this is the new form of democracy that is being established by the APNU/AFC coalition Government. Before 2015, budget proposals of projects used to be generated through community meetings between the RDC and residents then set in priorities of urgency, and approved by the RDC at a duly constituted meeting of the council, not a meeting by the REOs.
The Constitution of Guyana emphasised the importance of Local Government, Chapter 71 (1) “Local Government is a vital aspect of socialist democracy and shall be organised so as to involve as many people as possible in the task of managing and developing the communities in which they live”. While the Constitution dictates that there must be as many persons involved, this caretaker Government is secretly responsible for the destruction of local democracy.
Politicians and political officials are employed at the Regional Democratic Councils’ headquarters to undermine every aspect of administration. The two new NDCs that were formed since 2018 are still not functional. That’s the reality of local democracy, subvention from Government is being given based on rates and taxes collections from residents.
The main objective of the APNU/AFC coalition Government in respect to local Government is to divert the blames of incompetence and non-fulfilment of promises on the local organs and to pressure Guyanese with the additional burden.
This APNU/AFC coalition Government is losing billions of dollars through bad negotiations, corrupt deals, tax write-off, sweetheart settlements, corruption, incompetence, Ministers’ extravagance etc, but is trying to enforce rules and regulations that would squeeze an ordinary Guyanese for a few cents. Guyanese must unveil this two-faced Government.

Zamal Hussain