‘Devasting consequences for political parties that boycott local gov’t elections’ – Nandlall warns

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With uncertainty over the participation of the APNU+AFC Coalition at local government polls set for March 13, 2023, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, S.C, has warned of “devastating consequences” for political parties that refuse to put up candidates for election.

Nandlall’s comments followed two statements from the Alliance for Change (AFC); an initially one by Party Executive Cathy Hughes indicating that the AFC will not participate in the polls and a subsequent statement by Party Leader Khemraj Ramjattan where he informed that no decision has been taken by the Party’s executive body.

Also, it remains unclear whether A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) will contest the elections as a coalition with the AFC. The APNU had refused also to fully participate in the recent Claims and Objections exercise conducted by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to have an updated voters’ list for Local Government Elections (LGE).

Nandlall has made it clear that there will be no impact of a boycott of the elections by the APNU+AFC on the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C).

“Whether APNU+AFC contests as a collective or as individual parties or whether they do not contest at all will not affect the credibility of the elections or its legality.

“It will have devasting political consequences for those who choose not to participate,” Nandlall said on Tuesday.

He reminded that although the PPP had fears of rigging which manifested in general elections held between 1968 and 1985, it never refused to participate in those elections.

But should the Coalition opposition party contest local government elections on March 13, 2023 Nandlall has predicted a resounding loss for the APNU+AFC.

“The opposition as usual is in a confused state… it is characteristic of them.

“Whether they boycott or participate they are going to get a beating. We also know that they know that they will get a beating,” Nandlall added.

He said the APNU+AFC is afraid of the elections because it will “denude them of all the fat talk that we are hearing.”

“All the bad talks and threats and boasts, judgment day is coming very shortly and they are mortally afraid of that,” the AG reasoned.

Nonetheless, Nandlall reminded that local governance is of crucial importance, not only for democracy but for grassroots representation and governance at the level of communities.

“It is that platform that allows the ordinary Guyanese to participate in the governance structure. It plays a real and true part in the political-administrative management of local affairs.”

President Dr. Irfaan Ali has urged all voters and opposition parties to meaningfully participate in the process, reasoning that this is a chance to end mismanagement in communities.

The Guyanese Head of State, in a Facebook address on last week, also reminded the public that these elections are an important part of an effective governance system.

“March 13 is, therefore, an important date in which I call all Guyanese to work in renewing our effort at building the governance system, building our communities, strengthening our communities but importantly our municipalities and townships,” he underscored.

Still, he said there was another crucial consideration.

That is, voters are responsible for elect representatives who work in their best interest and facilitate these developmental efforts in their communities.

Even so, President Ali posited that his party, the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) will “deliver a team” that can effectively represent the interests of the people in their municipalities and townships.

A total of $783 million was allocated for LGE and approved by the National Assembly during the consideration of the 2022 Budget Estimates in February this year.

Monies were also allocated in the 2021 Budget for LGE that year, as they were constitutionally due then. However, those elections were not held, as top government officials maintained that issues at GECOM needed to be fixed.

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