‘Embrace and participate in the Local Democratic Process’ –Min. Valarie Patterson Yearwood
DPI, Guyana, Saturday, September 29, 2018
Lindeners were on Friday called upon by Minister within the Ministry of Housing, Valarie Adams Patterson-Yearwood to become informed on the processes of Local Democracy so that they can become more involved.
“Embrace and participate in the local democratic process through Local Government Elections (LGE),” the minister encouraged. The occasion was a stakeholder public awareness Local Government Elections (LGE) programme held by the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LMTC) and the Ministry of Communities.
The stakeholders were told to be the change they want to see and to let their voices be heard and their opinions known.
The programme was held under the theme, “Leveraging Local Democracy for Community and National Development, Local People, Local Purpose, Local Participation, Local Empowerment.”
Minister Adams Patterson-Yearwood, in her feature address, urged every member of the community to come on board now. “The local government system puts power in the hands of the people, in your hands, with central government being a crucial partner, but it is the citizens who drive the process, this means that every person, every group, every organisation must embrace and participate in the process,” she emphasised.
In addition, Minister Adams Patterson-Yearwood urged the stakeholders to use the power bestowed upon them to get themselves acquainted with the system, keep up with current affairs, hold community meetings and get involved at the community level.
“Too many times people stand on the sidelines and watch, LGE is the surest way in allowing you to have a say, in a manner that the affairs of your town are conducted,” Yearwood said, adding, that those elected will be held accountable to the people. “The change the electorate may be crying for can only come if they make it and if they get involved.”
Roger Rogers, Project Team Member from the Ministry of Communities noted that the overall mandate of the Ministry is to build cohesive, empowered and sustainable communities and critical to the realisation of that mandate, is strengthening the municipalities which manage those communities.
To this end, Rogers said, a local government public awareness and stakeholder institute project was established to overlook major deficiencies within the municipalities, so as to bring a solution.
“The overall goal of the project is to enhance stakeholder participation in local governance processes in Guyana, the project is designed to serve as a pilot generally aimed at raising the capacity of the Local Democratic Organs across the length and breadth of Guyana, to be actively involved in our national development agenda,” the stakeholders were told.
Speaking on behalf of the Local Government Commission was Commissioner Mortimer Mingo who also highlighted the importance of information and involvement. He said the Commission has the mandate of ensuring that the requisite laws and policies are implemented to ensure the effectiveness of Local Governance.
The audience was also informed by Mingo about the Local Government Commission Act and how same must be carried out by those elected. The Commission he noted, will also very shortly, roll out a very robust programme to sensitise the various municipalities and NDC’s and the citizens on their role, mandated by the Act. “One can have no better satisfaction of offering yourself up for service to your people within your communities. It is a rich and rewarding experience and therefore, I certainly will endorse and encourage residents of Linden to come forward and to avail themselves through the process that is available, to be of service to your community either through the municipality of Linden or the NDC or through the RDC,” Mingo said.
Mayor of Linden Waneka Arrindell gave an overview of the strides the Council made since 2016 and looked at why LGE is necessary for a continuity of local democracy. The town Mayor Arrindell said was better able to sustain itself by increasing private-public partnerships and enhancing local talent. The municipality she said is in a better place to not be fully dependable on the central government, but to work as a community and to think outside of the box to change the dynamics of our communities.
“We have begun to see development in our town and I am making a commitment to our constituents, to continue to focus on a campaign that will spur economic growth and development, leverage educational resources, build entrepreneurship, improve youth participation in sports, even as we see the high standards of academics in our township,” she said.
Several local entrepreneurs and manufacturers also took the opportunity to showcase their products so that residents get a better feel of the local production capacity and the economy of the municipality.
Story and Images: Vanessa Braithwaite.