PNCR, GAP/ROAR CALLS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM, POSTPONEMENT OF MEETING OF COMMITTEE OF SELECTION--PRESS RELEASE Tuesday, June 02, 2009




The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and the Guyana Action Party/Rise Organise and Rebuild (GAP/ROAR) have dispatched letters dated June 1, 2009 to the Prime Minister, Mr. Samuel Hinds and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr. Hari Naraine Ramkarran requesting that the immediate tabling of all four (4) Bills on Local Government Reform by the National Assembly Select Committee and the postponement of the Committee for Selection to identify members of the Select Committee.

The four (4) Bills in question are:

(1) The Local Authorities (Elections) (Amendment) Bill 2009;

(2) The Fiscal Transfers Bill 2009;

(3) The Local Government Commission Bill 2007;

(4) The Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2005.

The opposition parties are of the view that if the Bills are tabled immediately and simultaneously for consideration by the National Assembly “there could be consensus on the entirety of the Local Government Reforms which will have to be implemented prior to the holding of Local Government Elections in 2009.”

The letters are attached for your consideration.


People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia,
Georgetown, Guyana
Tuesday, June 02, 2009




The Hon. Hari N. Ramkarran, SC, MP
Speaker of the National Assembly
Chairman of Committee of Selection
Parliament Chambers, Public Buildings
Brickdam, Stabroek
Georgetown

1 June 2009

Dear Mr. Chairman,

POSTPONEMENT OF 1 JUNE 2009 MEETING OF COMMITTEE OF SELECTION

We are hereby requesting the postponement of the Meeting of the Committee of Selection, scheduled for 15:45 hrs on Monday 1 June 2009, to enable the holding of consultations.

Yours truly,


Mr. E. Lance Carberry, MP
Opposition Chief Whip

Copied to:
Mr. Sherlock E. Isaacs,
Clerk of the National Assembly

Mr. Samuel A. A. Hinds, MP
Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business

Mrs. Indranie Chandarpal, MP
Government Chief Whip





The Hon. Samuel A.A. Hinds, MP
Prime Minister and Leader of Government Business
The National Assembly
Parliament Chambers
Public Buildings
Brickdam
Georgetown

1 June 2009

Dear Prime Minister,

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM LEGISLATION

We, the members of the Parliamentary Opposition Parties – People’s National Congress Reform-One Guyana and the Guyana Action Party/Rise Organise and Rebuild – are committed to the holding of Local Government Elections, using the new Electoral List extracted from the new NRR, created as a result of the House-to-House Registration process, and under a Reformed Local Government System, as adumbrated and agreed by the Joint Task Force on Local Government Reform and to be presented, when consensus is reached, in the following package of four Draft Bills:

 The Local Authorities (Elections) (Amendment) Bill 2009;
 The Fiscal Transfers Bill 2009;
 The Local Government Commission Bill 2007; and
 The Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2005.

We have stated publicly that the issues remaining to be resolved, in the Draft Bills, can be expeditiously resolved, in time for the holding of Local Government Elections, before the end of 2009, if there is the political will and good faith, on the part of the Government, to do so.

We are not encouraged by the recent behaviour of the Government, including the campaign of misrepresentations to the public and the unilateral and arbitrary halting of the work of the Joint Task Force on Local Government Reform, on 7 April 2009, by the PPP/C Co-Chairman, on the instructions of President Jagdeo.

Since this unacceptable action was taken by the President, there has been no consultation or communication with the Leader of the Opposition or the Parliamentary Opposition Parties. In the circumstances, the high-handed, unilateral and unexplained Laying of The Local Authorities (Elections) (Amendment) Bill 2009, in the National Assembly, on Thursday 28 May 2009, unaccompanied by the other three (3) Bills, while arbitrarily deciding on the National Assembly time-table for finalising this Bill, suggests that the Government is continuing its efforts to scuttle the Local Government Reform process.

You would appreciate that Elections, under the reformed Local Government System, would require that there should also be agreement on the new Constituency Boundaries which would have to be drawn under the direction and supervision of the Guyana Elections Commission. We note the deafening silence of the Government on this matter.

Apart from the above, the fundamental changes, to the Local Government System, which are embodied in the four (4) Bills, require that a comprehensive public education programme should be urgently mounted to ensure that the Guyanese Electorate is fully informed and understand the changed system they are expected to exercise their vote under. Again, there has been an unusual silence by the Government about when and how this would be undertaken.

Given all that we have outlined above, we, the Parliamentary Opposition Parties, call upon the Government to immediately Table all four (4) Bills, for consideration by the National Assembly Select Committee, so that there could be consensus on the entirety of Local Government Reforms which would have to be implemented prior to the holding of Local Government Elections in 2009.

Yours truly,


Mr Robert H. O. Corbin, MP
Leader of the PNCR-1G and of the Opposition


Mr Everall N. Franklin, MP
Parliamentary Representative of GAP/ROAR


Copied to:
The Hon. Hari N. Ramkarran, SC, MP
Speaker of the National Assembly

Mr Sherlock E. Isaacs
Clerk of the National Assembly.