Mabaruma municipality defying expectation-Communities Minister praises their unifying effort

GINA, GUYANA, Saturday, November 26, 2016

Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan today, praised the Mabaruma Municipality for the unity they have displayed after a period of long-standing division, over the Town Council’s leadership.

After months of stalemate when the election for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor was called, the Mabaruma Municipality, in Region One, is defying expectations, Minister Bulkan said.

The Communities Minister today, visited the region, and showered praises on the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and councillors for their collective action, to function as a team, and not as two separate political parties.

Minister Bulkan particularly singled-out People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP-C) Councillor, Vibert Emmanuel and A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Councillor, Leslie Robinson, for the roles that they have played in sharing meetings of the Town Councils in those situations, where the mayor designated could not have done so, because of the litigations that were initiated following the deadlock over the Council’s leadership.

Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan taking note of councillors' concerns at the meeting with the Mayor and Town Councillors of the Mabaruma  Municipality

Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan taking note of councillors’ concerns at the meeting with the Mayor and Town Councillors of the Mabaruma Municipality

“On behalf of the Ministry, and on behalf of the residents of the township, I would like to thank the two councillors in particular for that spirit of bipartisan and cooperation, because it is that spirit and that attitude that would take us far,” the Minister said.

Minister Bulkan said that in many respects, the Mayor and Town Council of Mabaruma is a shining example for the other local democratic organs. “You are leading the way, and you are showing citizens and communities across the country that we can rid ourselves of the blinders that many of us put on, and that we can look at the bigger picture and the larger good, which is the interest of the people who have placed us there,” the Minister said.

The Communities Minister said that he was happy to acknowledge the actions of the Municipality, because there was nothing preventing the Council’s  members from going into the Council and adopting a different attitude, “one of resistance and one of attaching yourself to certain positions from which you have found ample justification,” the Minister said.

“We can always justify our actions whatever they are, but you have chosen as a Council, and as an individual to bring an enlightened attitude. You have risen above self-interest and pettiness for petty politics, and you have demonstrated by your actions   that you understand that there is a time for politics and there is a time for leadership,” he said.

Following the local government elections on March 18, the Municipality council of Mabaruma was evenly split between the PPP-C and the APNU+AFC. Each group obtained six seats on the 12-member Town Council.

For months, several attempts to hold  critical meetings that would lead to office bearers, including the Mayor, being elected were thwarted.  In fact, Henry Smith was sworn in as Mayor of Mabaruma by President David Granger, but for months he was unable to function in that capacity as Justice Diana Insanally granted an interim order quashing the appointment which had been made by Minister Bulkan.

Mayor and Town Councillors of the Mabaruma  Municipality being addressed by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan

Mayor and Town Councillors of the Mabaruma Municipality being addressed by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan

The injunction is barring Henry from functioning as the Mayor. Instead of being hampered, the Council has been skillfully manoeuvring around the injunction and ensuring the functioning of the municipality. Working together, they collectively arrived at the decision, that the Mayor withdraws from the position to give the council an opportunity to elect a chairperson to chair the meeting in the interest of the Municipality’s programmes.

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