Local Authorities (Elections) (Amendment) Bill 2012 – Bill No. 2 of 20123475 15 Mar, 2012
Mr. Hamilton: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. When I was asked to speak on this Bill I sought to go to the library here to look at the arguments over the last five years for this simple piece of legislation. What I noted was that there were long discussions and arguments similar to what I have heard this evening. The fact of the matter is, the Hon. Minister, in my view, has brought a simple piece of legislation here, as indicated, very straight forward, in his presentation that it is his wish that we work together to address the outstanding issues.
Whilst I complement the Hon. Member, Mr. Bulkan, for giving us the historical perspective in his maiden presentation to the National Assembly, what he did not do is seek to recommend, where we should go from here.
The Minister in his presentation stated, and I confirm with Hon. Member Mr. Ramjattan, that the issue now is for us, together, on all sides, get back, not to the drawing board because as I understand it, most of the drawings and drafting have already been completed. The issue is how to negotiate what is written somewhere. That is the issue.
The Hon. Member, Mr. Bulkan, in his presentation, alluded to the issue of IMC and I heard a lot of heckling whilst Hon. Member, Minister Whittaker was speaking about IMC. What this Assembly must note is whilst the Opposition – more so the PNC-R/APNU – continue to harp on this issue on IMC the people must note that when the former Leader of the PNC-R had a personal fight with the then Mayor of the Linden municipality he saw it fit to join hands pleading with the then Minister of Local Government, Mr. Collymore to disband that council and establish and interim management committee. At the Linden municipality it was a…
Mr. Speaker, the antics of the Hon. Member, Mr. Williams, is just antics. If he would go back to historical record, if he is capable, he would note that at the time of the disbandment of the Linden municipality Joseph Hamilton was a Central Executive Member of the People’s National Congress. Therefore, the fact that he stands in this House to suggest… You should follow all of the reports and if the then Leader of the Opposition was here he would have concurred with what I am saying, which is the agreement to disband the Linden municipality that was controlled by the People’s National Congress – Reform was an agreement with the then Opposition Leader and Minister Collymore. That is the fact of the matter.
That fact is, as indicated by the previous speakers from the Government, the Government is ready and willing to hold the Local Government Elections. One would note that in the last two to three weeks the Guyana Elections Commissions have already put themselves in readiness. One would see advertisements for temporary staff and they have started their work. Of course the elections will happen, as I understand it, when the parties here sit together and negotiate the issues that are burning issues. My recollection tells me that when two Bills were to come to the Assembly, at that time, the People’s National Congress-Reform determined that, because all five bills were not coming they would not continue to participate in the process. That is in the Hansard and the report coming from Minister Kellewan Lall to the National Assembly about what transpired at the level of the Select Committee.
I will urge that we resuscitate the Select Committee to deal with the outstanding matters. I will urge that we urgently seek to sit down several days and negotiate these matters. I will urge that all of us seek to ensure, as indicated by the Hon. Member Mr. Ramjattan, that this be the final time we come to the National Assembly to ask for an amendment to postpone the holding of Local Government Elections. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
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