Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan earlier today told elected officials and other stakeholders of the local government system that interference by central government is a thing of the past.
Minister Bulkan in remarks at the opening of the inaugural National Conference of Local Democratic Organs (NCLDO) at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre said:
“The convening of this conference is indeed historic. It would not be unfair to say it would have been unthinkable a mere seven years ago. So far removed was the subject of local governance within local government, within the governance architecture. We are now in the era of people’s empowerment, of the small man being the real man. Gone are the days of the micro-manager gone are the days of control domination and intolerable interference by central government.”
In addition, the minister said the local government system was a result of the struggle against colonialism and unjust government practices.
“The 1980 governance formula was forged in the crucible of struggle against inequality and under development and honed on the reality that we were indeed masters of our own destiny. It is, therefore, regrettable that the efforts of our founding leaders who crafted a progressive system of local governance out of painful experiences were eroded by deliberate efforts that almost reduced the system of local government to irrelevance. Dissolution of democratically elected councils and the imposition of interim management committees, the intimidation of administrative staff who resisted political interference and most abhorrent the denial of a generation of Guyanese exposure to local governance based on capriciousness and ignorance,” Minister Bulkan said.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Local Government Commission, Mortimer Mingo said the conference provided the opportunity for consultation between central government and the local democratic organs. It also allowed stakeholders to pool ideas for sustaining local democracy
“This element of cohesion is absolutely essential to ensure harmonization, fairness and equality there is no doubt that this initiative to embrace collaboration is the best way forward to achieve a win-win outcome where democracy, good governance, and development is achieved,’ Mingo s
The chairman also opined that no political system is considered complete and democratic if it does not have an effective system of local governance
According to Chairperson of the Regional Democratic Council Region Four, Genevieve Allen, the NCLDO is aimed at facilitating the development of local government leadership. Today’s conference follows in the footsteps of a 2015 conference which mandated elected local government officials to create a plan of action for regional development and the National Regional democratic consultative committee’s conference inaugurated in January 2017.