Nineteen months after the historic return of Local Government Elections in Guyana, the non-functionality of the constitutional organ, the Local Government Commission (LGC), ended as eight members of the body were appointed in October 2017. But accusations of Government interference via Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan are still being recorded. Nevertheless, Minister Bulkan has contended otherwise, indicating that last week’s swearing in of Mayors and Deputy Mayors was testament to his Government’s commitment to local democratic organs. He was at the time responding to the media on concerns that he was overtaking the role of the LGC even after the body was duly constituted.Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan“There is little or no evidence to suggest that this Administration is not committed to ensuring that the democratic governance obtains and that there is respect for organs created by the Constitution. I have no power to usurp the authority of the Local Government Commission, it’s created by an Act of Parliament and I am committed and I am discharging respect for the Local Government Commission to allow for the discharge of their duties and responsibilities in accordance with the Constitution,” the Minister observed.Local Government CommissionerClinton CollymoreHowever, a different story was painted by People’s Progressive Party (PPP) LGC members who just a few weeks ago by their explanations indicated that there was political grandstanding on the part of the Minister, in that the body is being treated as just a front, while Central Government essentially runs the show. The Local Government Commission is the body that has oversight of the local government system, especially the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) and municipalities, such as Georgetown and Mabaruma. However, PPP Commissioners have highlighted that in spite of the LGC’s enactment budgetary allocations, the Communities Minister “continues to hold on” to vital areas of authority that fall under the Commission. LGC Commissioner Clinton Collymore told the press earlier this month that access to finance and space was a problem they were encountering.“We have a difficulty accessing funds, a difficulty accessing space and accommodation and a difficulty with how the Commission responds to public matters,” Collymore had disclosed, saying the Eping Avenue building does not cater for all the members of the Commission.Minister Bulkan however said last Wednesday that to the best of his knowledge, all of the sums that have been requested was disbursed or at the final stages of being disbursed.“Allocations have been made to the Local Government Commission in the sum of $20 million in 2017 representing recurrent expenditure and the sum $110 million in 2018 – $20 million representing capital expenditure and $90 million as recurrent expenditure,” he explained.“If [the] allocation proves to be insufficient, with justification, I’m sure that the Minister of Finance will allow for supplementary provision to be made later in the year,” he noted.Former Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker had however noted that the current Government has been written to about the situation on numerous occasions but to no avail.As the fallout over the LGC continues, elected PPP Opposition officials are highlighting, through the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that Government appointed Regional Executive Officers (REOs) of operating contrary to finance laws in Regional Democratic Councils. However Minister of State Joseph Harmon said last week the “little aberrations” being reported at PAC did not begin in 2015, noting that Government has been training REOs.
Chaz Spicer hit two free throws with 2.5 seconds left and Utah State took advantage of an intentional foul call to hold off No. 10 Nevada 79-77 in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament Friday night in Las Cruses, N.M. Utah State (23-10) beat Nevada for the second time in a week to move into today’s championship game against the winner of the New Mexico State-Boise State semifinal late Friday. Nevada (28-4) is assured of its fourth straight NCAA tournament bid, but the loss could hurt the Wolf Pack’s seeding. Spicer, whose two free throws with 3 seconds left in overtime beat Nevada 79-77 last week in Logan, did it again. He was fouled by Nevada’s Matt LaGrone on a drive to the basket in which it looked like he might have traveled. With the Nevada crowd yelling for a travel call, Spicer calmly hit both free throws. Nothing new for Spicer, who went 6-for-6 at the line in the game, has hit 30 of his last 32 free throws and has won four games for the Utah State guard Jaycee Carroll led the Aggies with 24 points. BIG TEN TOURNAMENT No. 1 Ohio State 72, Michigan 62 Greg Oden scored 22 points – 15 in the second half – and the Buckeyes (28-3) won their 15th in a row in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in Chicago. The Buckeyes advance to a semifinal today against Purdue, which beat Iowa 74-55. The 7-foot Oden was 8-for-12 from the field and 6-for-10 from the free throw line to go with eight rebounds and four blocks. It was Ohio State’s third win in as many tries this season against Michigan (21-12), which is hoping to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998. No. 3 Wisconsin 70, Michigan State 57 Alando Tucker, held to three free throws in the opening half, made four 3-pointers in the second half to lift the Badgers (28-4) in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals. Tucker, the league’s player of the year, finished with 21 points – his 39th straight game in double figures – and the Badgers advanced to a semifinal today against Indiana or Illinois. BIG 12 TOURNAMENT No. 2 Kansas 64, Oklahoma 47 Brandon Rush scored 16 points and ignited the Jayhawks (28-4) after an uninspired first half in the quarterfinals in Oklahoma City. Rush started Kansas’ 18-2 second-half run with a reverse layup, and added a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws. The Jayhawks advance to a semifinal today against Kansas State, which beat Texas Tech 66-45. Oklahoma State 57, No. 7 Texas A&M 56 Mario Boggan scored from the right block with 11.5 seconds left to give the Cowboys (21-11) a win in the Big 12 quarterfinals. No. 15 Texas 74, Baylor 69 Kevin Durant rebounded from a dismal first half to score 29 points and grab 13 rebounds for the Longhorns (23-8), who advanced to the Big 12 Conference semifinals. BIG EAST TOURNAMENT No. 9 Georgetown 84, No. 20 Notre Dame 82 Jeff Green had a career-high 30 points, including the winning basket with 13 seconds left, and 12 rebounds to lead the Hoyas (25-6) in the semifinals of the Big East tournament in New York. DaJuan Summers added 18 points and Patrick Ewing Jr. tied his career high of 15 as the Hoyas face Pittsburgh in today’s final. No. 13 Pittsburgh 65, No. 12 Louisville 59 Antonio Graves scored 10 of his 23 points during a 20-2 run for the Panthers (27-6) against the Cardinals (23-9) in the Big East semifinals. SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT No. 6 Florida 74, Georgia 57 The Gators (27-5) scored the first 17 points of the game, built a 25-point lead before halftime and romped in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament in Atlanta. CONFERENCE USA TOURNAMENT No. 5 Memphis 71, Tulane 49 Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 17 points and the Tigers (29-3) extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 21 straight by winning in the tournament semifinals on their home court. ATLANTIC COAST TOURNAMENT No. 8 North Carolina 73, Florida State 58 Wayne Ellington scored 18 points and Ty Lawson had 14 to lead the Tar Heels (26-6) in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Tampa, Fla. Tyler Hansbrough, whose nose was broken in North Carolina’s victory over Duke last Sunday, wore a protective mask and scored six points on 3-for-7 shooting before fouling out late in the game. MOUNTAIN WEST TOURNAMENT No. 23 BYU 96, Wyoming 84 Trent Plaisted tied his career high with 27 points as the Cougars (25-7) advanced to the Mountain West final for the first time since 2001. BYU will face No. 25 UNLV, an 88-72 winner over Colorado State late Friday. – From News Services 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!