New initiative to promote local democracy

GINA, GUYANA, Friday, January 20, 2017

Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, says the government is committed to building bridges across the chasm which divides Guyana.

Bulkan, addressing the inauguration of the National Regional Development Consultative Committee (NRDCC), at the Marriot Hotel this morning, said the government will practice collaboration instead of confrontation.

Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan addressing the launch of the National Regional Development Consultative Committee at the Marriott Hotel, Georgetown.

“We will foster the politics of inclusion and we will achieve those objectives by solidifying local democracy, which frankly, we believe, is the bedrock of democratic governance,” the minister said.

The first NRDCC meeting was held under the theme; “Strengthening Regional Governance through Leadership Development, Finance Management and Strategic Networking.”

President David Granger delivered the feature address at the meeting.

Also present were, Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock, Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma and Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Valerie Adams-Patterson.

Explaining the concept of a NRDCC, Bulkan said it is a new initiative that the administration has undertaken. He said that to build strong regions, the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) must take up their rightful place within the governmental architecture.

“RDCs cannot remain stepchildren indefinitely,” the minister said.  He said that the NRDCC will “fire-up” the process of strengthening the role of RDCs and deepen their abilities to address obstacles to the regions’ development including crime, disease, ignorance and poverty.

The minister explained that the NRDCC will do this by allowing for meaningful participation and collaboration among the various layers of government and in so doing, provide respect for the authority of democratic organs created by the Constitution.

According to Minister Bulkan the administration is determined to foster regional empowerment by making RDCs stronger, more efficient, and more effective.  He noted however, that the objectives of the administration can only be realised within a governance framework that firmly rejects winner-takes-all politics.

Bulkan said for this reason, the government, “stands against the thought of anyone or any group of Guyanese feeling like second-class citizens.” He said the administration supports cohesion and a system of governance that allows for diffusion and decentralisation of decision-making power within the constitutional framework.

Minister Bulkan said that Central Government expects regional administrators to identify potential areas for investment in productive enterprises, leveraging their own diverse natural and human resources to improve the lives of citizens.

He said that in turn, central government will work hand in hand with the regional administrators to make hopes and dreams of a better life into a reality. “Regional chairpersons know that they are tasked with this great and noble responsibility and I say to you, the administration will offer to you nothing less than the open hand of co-operation, friendship, assistance, and empowerment,” Bulkan said.

Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communities, Emil McGarrel, explained that the principle function of the NRDCC will be to facilitate collaborative management, development and leadership across the region. He said that the NRDCC will allow for more accountability, transparency, partnership among regional stakeholders and planning for the effective delivery of public services in capital towns throughout the regions.

McGarrel explained that the objectives of the first NRDCC is to; promote greater communication and collaboration among the local democratic organs, to develop guidelines for finance committees of local democratic organs and, to promote regional development through networking among regional, national and multi-national stakeholders.

 

By: Macalia Santos

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