Bulkan denies usurping Local Govt Commission’s authority

first_imgNineteen 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.last_img read more