PPP says Local Gov’t elections not possible by August
The National Assembly recently passed a Bill for Local Government elections to be held before the start of August this year, but the General Secretary of the PPP, Clement Rohee, said readiness for elections does not have just to do with political parties, but also with the elections commission, GECOM, and when it is ready to administer the elections. The PPP has three Commissioners at GECOM, and they have indicated that an elections by August 1 is too soon.
The elections are being held after several reforms to the Local Government system, as dictated by new legislation, and according to Rohee, this would make the next local government elections a very complex one, and the Election Commission must especially make sure voters are educated.
Since the PPP does not see elections by the August 1 date set by the National Assembly, it is unclear if President Donald Ramotar will assent to the Bill. The President has already refused to make into law another Local Government Bill signed in the House. That Bill, the Local Government Amendment Bill, had sought to have a Commission appoint regional executive officers, instead of leaving that power to the Minister of Local Government. The appointment of regional executive officers has been a controversial one, since those appointed by the Minister have been accused of frustrating the work of Regions not controlled by the Government.
Meanwhile, the future of former Minister of Local Government Ganga Persaud hangs in the balance. After he resigned under questionable circumstances, most likely given marching orders by the President, Persaud had said he would continue to represent the governing party in Parliament. Persaud has been missing at recent sittings of the National Assembly. Asked if Persaud will continue in the House, Rohee said the PPP will issue a statement.