first_imgAs pressure mounts on the Government to allow Guyana’s democracy to flourish, scores of supporters of the Opposition on Tuesday staged a peaceful picketing exercise outside the Ministry of the Presidency over the appointment of Government Councillors to head at least six Local Authority Areas where there was a tie after local polls.PPP/C supporters protest outside the Ministry of the PresidencyThe A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC)and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) received six seats each on the Mabaruma Town Council, Region One (Barima-Waini), while a similar situation obtained in five Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs).Senior Party members leading the picketing exerciseHowever, Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan applied Section 13 (4) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01 and selected a Mayor for Mabaruma and Chairpersons of the five NDCs – a decision the PPP/C successfully challenged in the High Court last week.Justice Diana Insanally subsequently quashed the appointment of a Mayor for Mabaruma as well as the appointments of chairmen of the five NDCs.The Government has since indicated that it would challenge Justice Insanally’s decision and was confident of coming out successful, as it maintained Bulkan acted legally.But, in denouncing Bulkan’s “undemocratic” actions, PPP/C supporters from across the country, including Woodlands-Farm, Mahaicony, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice); Woodlands-Bel Air, Region Five and Industry- Plaisance, Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).The placard-bearing protesters braved the rains as they reiterated their position that “democracy was greater than the Government” and “democracy will prevail”.Speaking to Guyana Times, PPP Executive Secretary and Member of Parliament (MP) Zulfikar Mustapha explained that the protesters were out to register their rejection of Bulkan’s action.“This gathering is here to protest against the arbitrary decision made to appoint Chairpersons and Mayors in tied municipalities,” Mustapha stated.He said while the PPP/C had suggested a workable solution of rotation of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor position in Mabaruma and a similar system for tied NDCs, Bulkan went ahead and appointed APNU/AFC councillors to the positions, totally ignoring the PPP/C’s suggestion.Nigel Dharmalall, another PPP/C MP who was on the picket line said, Bulkan’s decision was “creating a cloud of controversy in the Local Government Elections (LGE)”.The parliamentarian stressed on the level of disrespect shown by the Government to the very principles of harmony and unity that it preached. He is calling on the President to listen to their concerns and let good sense prevail.He pointed out that the LGE were the basis for governance at the community level and his Party and supporters feel very aggrieved by the decisions made by Minister Bulkan.On Thursday last, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo told a news conference that Bulkan disregarded the laws for the sake of convenience.“This here is an illegal action on the part of the Government,” Jagdeo declared.He told reporters that his Party sought to reach a compromise with the APNU/AFC and offered for there to be a rotation of the Mayorship and Deputy Mayorship in Mabaruma and similar arrangements for the five affected NDCs.Jagdeo said he personally spoke with the Government’s Chief Whip Amna Ally on the matter at the weekend where she said after consultations with President David Granger, a decision had been taken to accept the suggestion of the PPP/C.He said there were even discussions on the process and procedure and talks about a formal agreement on the rotation.However, Jagdeo said the Government has on its position and moved to flout the laws and unilaterally appoint APNU/AFC Councillors to the top posts, even in areas where the PPP won a plurality of votes.This action, Jagdeo said, is undemocratic and is thwarting the will of the majority of the people in those NDCs.last_img