LGE will be held in 2021

-once changes made at GECOM 
-Minister Dharamlall

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Hon. Nigel Dharamlall has said the much-anticipated Local Government Elections (LGE) would be held this year.

He said sums have been allocated in Budget 2021 for the elections, and the Ministry is making preparations, in his presentation to the National Assembly on Thursday.

Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Hon. Nigel Dharamlall

However, Minister Dharamlall told the Assembly that some changes must be made at the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to allow the administration to fulfil its commitment to democracy.

“We cannot continue to have any elections in this country because anyone who believes in good governance, transparency and accountability can never have Lowenfield, Myers, Mingo at the head of the secretariat of GECOM. The majority of people in this country will not condone it and we will not condone it.”

In August 2020, the police started a comprehensive investigation into the actions of Deputy Chief Election Officer of GECOM, Ms. Roxanne Myers, Chief Election Officer, Mr. Keith Lowenfield, Returning Officer of Region Four, Mr. Clairmont Mingo to verify the role they played during the protracted period following the March 2 General and Regional Elections (GRE).

As such, Minister Dharamlall has said these individuals need to be removed from GECOM to ensure credible elections.

“We have a lot of work to do and we need to host the election this year because a lot of supporters from the APNU/AFC are meeting me every day and they want to come on board. Some have expressed their interest in becoming community leaders and councillors for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic,” he said.

In 2020, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali said the Government would host the LGE once GECOM can operate in an impartial manner in which the population can have confidence.

“I will not override anyone’s right to vote…I am not getting into Local Government Elections now. What we have to do is to fix what is there first and we have to ensure that we have a system that is working, and a system that people trust, and a professional system, and a system that operates in an unbiased manner so that the people of our country can have confidence,” President Ali had said.

In keeping with this, the President had called for a Commission of Inquiry to probe the weaknesses of the elections body.  

Vice President Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo had also expressed the Government’s readiness to host the LGE once the “criminal elements” attached to GECOM were removed.

 The last LGE was last held on November 12, 2018.