$2.9B for 2018 year-end Local Government Elections

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) has been allocated some $2.9B for the holding of Local Government Elections (LGE) between the beginning of November and early December this year.

Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan.

The multibillion-dollar allocation from central government demonstrates its unequivocal commitment and determination towards democratic governance, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan said today.

At his Ministry’s 2017 year-in-review and 2018 projections held at the Herdmanston Lodge, Minister Bulkan said the obligation of the Ministry is to ensure that the local organs are prepared for elections.

“That is why the work that is being done; to help to equip and empower our local democratic organs which allow for capacity building and institutional strengthening is so critical. It is those organs that will have the responsibility to deliver on behalf of the residents in the respective areas,” the Minister explained.

According to Minister Bulkan, while it is the principle responsibility of the Elections Commission, the Ministry will continue with its campaign on public education; something he stressed is still needed among Guyanese.

“I will be the first to admit that there is still a great degree of lack of understanding of even what are the responsibilities of local government organs in our engagement and interaction with the public, that there is still this mindset that it is central government that is responsible for the conditions in the individual communities.”

He stressed that additional education of the citizenry is crucial if they are to fully comprehend that the principal responsibility for the discharge is on the neighbourhood council and not central government.

According to him, the $2.9 billion allocated to GECOM, will include funding for the much-needed voter education.

“It is an opportunity that is being offered to citizens to elect a council that will have responsibility for the management of whatever area you live in,” he said.

After over two decades of dormancy, the administration was able to resume Local Government Elections in 2016, after being held in 1994.

According to the Minister, the 2016 LGE saw a 43 percent participation. However, this government has set a 50 percent target for 2018.  According to Minister Bulkan, while that target may seem quite insignificant, it is in fact, the minimum level of participation the administration wants to see at this year’s poll. He reminded too of the importance of participating in the elections, stressing that the individuals selected will have immediate responsibilities for developmental activities in their respective communities.

With Government observing the LGE legislation, elections will be constitutionally due between the beginning of November up until December 7.

 

By: Alexis Rodney

 

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