More councillors, constituencies for greater local gov’t representation – Dharamlall

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Local Government Elections will be held on March 13, 2023 and will see 14 constituencies and 28 councillors being added to allow for greater representation and better management of communities, Local Government and Regional Development Minister Nigel Dharamlall has said.

Additionally, several new boundaries which were created by the former APNU+AFC administration during the 2018 Local Government Elections were reversed to what was obtained in 2016.

Dharamlall, during a press conference on Friday at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, said he was confident that these changes would lend to a more democratic local governance.

During the 2018 LGEs, the APNU+AFC coalition created new NDCs as well as collapsed and merged some NDCs, which Dharamall noted were for political purposes.

“Fourteen areas were affected in 2018, and we have decided that for better representation that those areas go back to the 2016 constituency boundaries,” Dharamlall said.

Dharamall assured that no boundaries were reduced this time around, but in some areas, the boundaries were extended.

In Region One (Barima-Waini) the boundaries of the Mabaruma township were expanded to include the village of Wauna.

In the Pomeroon River, the Kitty/Providence NDC and Moruka/Pheonix NDC will be merged into one due to the small population size.

In Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) the Toevlugt/Patentia was extended to the village of Free and Easy to capture a few hundred more residents.

In Region Four (Demerara – Mahaica) the 2016 boundaries will be reverted to.

In Region Five (Mahaica – Berbice) the Woodlands/Farm NDC was extended to include areas in the DeHoop Access Road including No. 10 Mahaica, Little Biaboo, Big Biaboo.

In Region Six (East Berbice – Corentyne) the No. 52/No. 74 NDC will be split into two NDCs – No. 52/No. 63 and No. 64/No. 74 to allow for better management and greater representation for the large catchment area.

The local government organs in Regions Eight (Potaro – Siparuni), Nine (Upper Takutu – Upper Esequibo), 10 (Upper Demerara – Berbice) and Georgetown will remain the same.

Dharamlall noted that the changes will translate to greater benefits and expanded and enhanced community development.

“We believe that at the end of Local Government Elections on March 13, there is going to be a better representation of people, there is going to be more activism on behalf of residents within these areas,” he added.

Because of the modifications, the complement of councillors in the local democratic organs will be increased in the 70 NDCs and 10 municipalities across the country.

In 2018 there were 1,192 councillors in 596 constituencies, this will be increased to 1,220 councillors in 610 constituencies in 2023.

“In all of the changes that have been done, we have consulted, we have met,” Dharamlall said, noting that both residents and NDCs were consulted during the process of making the changes.

LGEs were to be held last year and despite the government’s readiness, the unreadiness of the country’s electoral body had caused the elections to be postponed.

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.

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