GEORGETOWN, Guyana CMC – The Central Committee of the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) will meet soon to elect a new executive committee following the party’s 30th Congress that ended, here, on Sunday.
President Donald Ramotar, who served as general secretary, topped the polls for the new Central Committee, edging out former president, Bharat Jagdeo, by 15 votes. Jagdeo received 851 votes.
A number of government ministers were elected to the 35-member strong Central Committee during the three-day Congress that a PPP statement described as among the most successful.
The next Congress will be held in 2016.
Apart from Ramotar and Jagdeo, the other notable persons elected are Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony, Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee, and head of the Presidential secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon.
The statement said that the delegates urged the government to continue to work “tirelessly to deliver higher levels of goods and services to the people of Guyana” in various areas including health, housing, education, water, jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.
It said a major highlight of the Congress was the report of the Central Committee delivered by Ramotar that analyzed current political, socio-economic conditions in Guyana and the impact of the international political and economic environment.
Meanwhile, the opposition Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has dismissed reports that the PPP Congress was not in favour of a proposed Local Government Commission ahead of the long-awaited Local Government elections.
“The statement emanating from the PPP`s Congress regarding their opposition to the Local Government Commission to be established as a result of the Bill now before Parliament, exposes the PPP’s hypocrisy and bankruptcy,” the APNU in a statement.
Media reports, here, said that the PPP’s group that addressed local governance reported to Saturday’s congressional plenary that “the Local Government Commission is a parallel government system and so we don’t agree with the proposals”.
The reports said that the committee also argued in favour of holding the long-delayed Local Government elections under the present system.
But the APNU, which includes the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) said that the PPP’s committee statement on Local Government amounted to “nothing but a brazen falsehood”.
It said the Local Government Commission would be responsible for “matters relating to the regulation and staffing of local government organs” and that this is precisely what is in the Bill to be presented by the Minister of Local Government to the National Assembly.
The APNU said that the Commission will ensure that constitutional provisions are met and that “Parliament shall provide that local democratic organs are autonomous and take decisions which are binding upon their agencies and institutions, and upon the communities and citizens of their areas.”
The two parties are also at loggerheads regarding the composition of the Commission.
“In seeking to have control of this Commission all that will happen is that the government will continue to dominate local authorities and exercise the stranglehold they currently practice via this Commission instead of via the Minister,” the APNU said.
Last week, the APNU said that the long overdue Local Government elections can be held in 2013, saying “there is insufficient time remaining for the Local Government reform Bills to be enacted into law and for local government elections to be held in 2013 under reformed legislation.
The last Local Government elections were held on August 8, 1994 with the ruling PPP winning 80 percent of the Councils.
But for various reasons, the Local Government elections planned for 1997 did not materialize and the National Assembly deferred the 1997 elections to one year later. Since then, numerous obstacles have impeded Local Government elections even though the government in 2004 had named the month of October as the month for the polls.
At the start of the year, Western countries issued a joint statement pressuring Guyana to ensure that Local Government take place in 2013.
In their joint statement issued by the United States Ambassador Dr. Brent Hardt, the United Kingdom High Commissioner, Andrew Ayre, his Canadian counterpart, David Devine, and Robert Kopecky, the European Union diplomat here, the Western countries recalled that during the 2011 national elections “one issue on which all political parties were in full agreement was the need to hold local government elections”.