Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
By Nicole Telford- Linden’s Mayor Sharma Solomon is calling on the Government of Guyana to respect constitutional laws that legislate the Government of Guyana to engage with Local Government Authorities. He believes the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government is bypassing the Linden Mayor and City Council (LM&TC) which, he notes, erodes the system of oversight on projects in the eight constituencies within the LM&TC.
Speaking with Village Voice News, the Region 10 Mayor stated that the Municipality Act, Chapter 28:01, establishes that it is the Government’s obligation to engage with Local Municipalities. Explaining why he thinks that the government is not playing their part, the Mayor said there is inadequacy and insufficiency with Government’s guidance on local governance.
Solomon also points to Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo’s statement that the government is “prepared to work in concert with elected officials and those who are representatives of the people.” The Mayor says the government is however acting inconsistent with what Jagdeo said and is usurping the functions of the municipality, by going through the Community Development Councils (CDCs). This, the Mayor believes shows Government’s intention to retard growth and development within the Municipality itself, which he notes hinders the effective and equitable provision of services to residents of the mining town.
According to Solomon, when he was elected to the Linden Mayor and City Council after the recently held Local Government Election (LGE), he was confronted with a Council that is receiving $18 million in government subvention, for the management of an entire town of some 55,000 citizens, of which some 35,000 is centrally located.
The Mayor advises that the CDCs collect $80 million, twice per year, from the Government’s budget for Drainage and Irrigation Works. Solomon highlights that there are some 30 CDCs in Linden which are arms of the PPP/C, and many of the CDCs Chairpersons ran as PPP/C candidates in the last LGE.
Solomon is calling for major legislative changes to address the usurpation of the Local Authorities and better equip them to function as autonomous bodies. At the same time, he is appealing to residents to support the Council to ensure it carries out its constitutional function on their behalf. “I would say to residents we have to be able to stomp to ensure that Council is able to function in your interest.”
The Mayor also reminds that it was the President and Vice President who said, “Elections are over; we will work with the councils,” but he says he needs to be asked which Councils the government is working with.