Rosignol – Zee Lust NDC to be audited
DPI, Guyana, Friday, April 13, 2018
Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan has ordered that the operations and activities of the Rosignol-Zeelust Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC) in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) be subjected to an audit to ensure that there is openness and transparency in the operations of that Council.
Minister Bulkan was at the time addressing a Local Democratic Organ Consultative Committee meeting in Mahaica-Berbice on April 7. He disclosed that the Government is considering certain mechanisms and regulations relating to the role of independent constituency councillors. The Minister called for the audit after receiving several complaints about the operations of the council; particularly, one which alleged that the council leased council property in Rosignol to a businessman.
The complainant Ovid Shultz had also said that having been granted the lease illegally the businessman was now trying to acquire the land by applying for prescriptive rights.
In response to the specific complaint Minister Bulkan said, “I will ensure that public properties and public assets are protected and not expropriated and that councillors understand that they are not there in these public offices to promote their own private interests; or private gain but they are there to prosecute and promote and protect the public interest so I will be following up on that.”
Shultz had expressed dissatisfaction with the way in which the council conducted its affairs. “The way the council operates at this time is like an overflow of the previous system which operated prior to May 2015. I want to urge that the Ministry pay closer attention to this NDC. If possible, go back and look at the records and take all the necessary action so that those people who feel that the NDC property is theirs for their personal aggrandisement would come to the realisation that this is not so,” Shultz stated.
Minister Bulkan, acknowledged that the Government was aware of a larger related issue: the way constituent councillors were being treated by some of the NDCs. This he said was as a result of the ability of the majority of any council to manipulate or dominate what is taking place in that council.
“This is not a simple issue but there are certain mechanisms that are now being considered and contemplated. I believe that we have to be able to arrive at a set of regulations that are literally binding upon the operations of any council,” the minister said.
Each NDC, he said, must allow for a significant weight within the operations of the council for the constituency councillor. He added that the Government intends to empower constituency councillors to prevent the margalisation of the interests of these members of the council and their constituents.
“This domination and ignoring of constituency councillors is something that we are coming across that is quite prevalent in the system; so, as we identify these defects within the system we will have to respond meaningfully and allow perpetuation.”
Minister Bulkan said that irrespective of which side of the divide has the majority, the same principles which will allow for equitable allocation of resources and equitable delivery of Governmental services and public services must also apply for people who are the constituents of the independent councillor.
By: Clifford Stanley