Ministry of Communities – Press Release

Ministry of Communities, Guyana, January 20, 2017

The Ministry of Communities has dismissed as propaganda; assertions appearing in certain sections of the media that opposition dominated regional councils were deliberately sidelined and excluded from today’s inaugural National Regional Development Consultative Committee (NRDCC) meeting.

Four of the opposition controlled councils despite being invited, absented themselves from the forum.

Between 6:44 and 8:47pm, last night Minister Ronald Bulkan received four identically-worded letters from opposition-controlled councils (Regions 2, 5 and 6 and Mayor of the  Anna Regina Town Council) , the identically worded letters confirms central direction and involvement.

This not only displays disinterest and disrespect, but borders on insubordination and disregard for policies of central government, and more importantly, the needs of the citizens within the various communities.

What was obviously a boycott will ultimately disenfranchise the people within those regions, making them victims of self-serving politicians.

Any suggestion that today’s activity will dilute or threaten the authority of local democratic organs is baseless, provocative and devious since the activity was designed to strengthen the role of local democratic organs in the discharge of their duties.

Further, public officials have a duty under the law to conform to public policies.

The policy of decentralisation and devolution of decision-making power, and the administration’s efforts to ensure that regional officials are invested with power authority and respect to manage their affairs and that of their people is central to this administration’s philosophy and commitment to the people of Guyana.

The Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, expresses sympathy and empathy with several officials who were prepared to attend today’s session – and actually uplifted state funds to facilitate their attendance – but were discouraged by their political masters.

Minister Bulkan has said that the administration will continue to work with them and all  other  stakeholders to heal the divide which exists in Guyana and build a united, cohesive country.

Those deplorable  actions of the opposition to deny regional leaders the opportunity of participating in activities organised by central government  intended to improve the quality of life of all Guyanese in all of the country’s regions, are pitiful, irresponsible, and reckless, and does a disservice to the people which they were elected to serve.

However, central government will not be deterred or distracted from representing all Guyanese people.

Central Government will persevere in working with all local democratic organs to ensure that they function as part and parcel of the governance architecture and in alignment with the national agenda based on government’s strategic trajectory.

There are three tiers of government and central government is committed to ensuring that all levels collaborate and that none dominate.

Government remains dedicated to a united Guyana. Government is mindful, too, of the fact that all regions have different priorities, needs, resources and personnel.

Government, with this recognition will work with regional administrators to fully realise the potential of each region and ultimately the potential of our nation as a whole.