Local Government Elections officially postponed
Despite government’s desire to have Local Government Elections (LGE) before the end of 2021 when it was constitutionally due, the unreadiness of the country’s electoral body means the process has been postponed, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Nigel Dharamlall has announced.
In a letter to all Councillors, including all Mayors, Deputy Mayors, Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons Dharamlall said it was impractical to hold the elections due to the Guyana Elections Commission’s (GECOM) lack of readiness.
The minister has the responsibility to announce the date for these elections after consultations with GECOM.
“Local Government Elections will be postponed to a date to be specified and of which you will be duly informed. In the meanwhile, every person who is a Councillor, including the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of every Local Democratic Organ, as the case may be, shall continue in and discharge the functions of your office, until your successors assume office, or unless otherwise advised,” the letter noted on December 3.
The letter informs that all acts done or purported to be done by such local democratic organ and the members shall be deemed to be lawfully and validly done.
Some $1.1 billion has been allocated for those elections in the 2021 National Budget.
But no monies were allocated to prepare a new voters list; something necessary before any elections are run off.
GECOM has been under fire for its delay in setting a date for constitutionally due LGE.
Although monies were budgeted for the elections this year, GECOM has not done anything to run off those elections. The absence of a CEO, DCEO, and other senior officials is largely responsible.
Opposition nominated Commissioner Vincent Alexander is quoted by the Stabroek News recently as saying that it will be another year or more before those elections can be held.
The holding of any elections at this time is also stalled because the current voters’ list is outdated.
GECOM had decided that the voters’ list will be updated every six months through a process of continuous registration and claims and objections.
But this has not been done for the last two years. GECOM is also without a Commissioner of Registration and other key voter registration personnel.