PPP/C to block swearing-in of Mayor, Deputy

Selection of Mabaruma Mayor

0The Opposition People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) says it will be moving to the courts today to block the swearing-in of the Mayor of the newly-created town of Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini) who was selected by Communities Minister  Ronald Bulkan, contrary to the Municipal and District Councils Act Chapter 28:01.PPP
In the municipality of Mabaruma, the Opposition PPP/C and the ruling A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) each snapped up six seats on the Council – leading to a tie when the Council voted on Saturday and Tuesday to elect a mayor.
In an instance like this, Chapter 28:01 Section 13 (6) provides that the Town Clerk shall appoint a date for the election of a Mayor by the people. This date shall not be later than December 28 of the same year.
However, without that vote, Minister Bulkan applied Section 13 (4) which states “where at an election [as prescribed above], two or more Councillors secure an equal number of votes the Minister shall direct which of those Councillors shall perform the functions of the office of Mayor; and that Councillor shall assume and perform those functions until such time as the Mayor or Deputy Mayor as the case may be is able to act.”
The Minister named APNU/AFC Councillor Henry Smith as his choice for the post of Mayor.
Following this the six APNU/AFC Councillors elected Ashtrilla Gammel, another APNU/AFC Councillor as Deputy Mayor.
Speaking on Bulkan’s action, former Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall said that his Party would be moving to the courts this morning to block the swearing in of the two “unlawfully-appointed” officials.
“We will restrain them from functioning and we will quash the appointment. We will seek the courts’ intervention to seek an order that will prevent them from acting in office or secondly quash the decision that appointed them,” Nandlall told Guyana Times Tuesday evening.
He said that the Minister clearly violated the law and has acted precipitously and prematurely by making appointments without going back to the electorate as the law dictated.
“In other words [he] has usurped the functions of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and certainly violated the law and it is an attack on democracy, it is stealing of the will of the electorate; the people are required by law to go to an election again and only when it fails to yield a result or yield a tie result, the Minister’s powers are activated,” the former AG explained.
Bulkan also went ahead and named the Chairpersons for some five Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) where there were also ties between the APNU/AFC and the PPP/C.