–President Granger says
By Svetlana Marshall
THE Public Procurement Commission (PPC) and the Local Government Commission are expected to be up and running this month, President David Granger has said.He made the disclosure in an invited comment to the Guyana Chronicle during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Turkeyen Campus on Thursday, October 6, 2016.
The President said he was ready to swear in the commissioners for the Public Procurement Commission “two weeks ago”; however, he is awaiting the finalisation of some administrative matters, including emoluments.
Last August, Members of Parliament on both sides of the National Assembly approved a motion which listed possible candidates who will sit on the constitutional body.
The members to be appointed by President David Granger following their nomination by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly are Emily Dodson, Carol Corbin, Ivor English, Sukrishnalall Pasha, and former Labour Minister, Dr Nanda Kishore Gopaul.
The establishment and operationalisation of the PPC will effectively end Cabinet’s role in the award of multi-million dollar contracts. The amended Constitution which paved the way for the PPC some 14 years ago, allows for the dismantling of the Bid Protest Committee and reducing the responsibilities of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board.
Turning his attention to the Local Government Commission, President Granger stated that Cabinet has already seen the final proposal from the Ministry of Communities for the acquisition of a building to house the secretariat.
The absence of a Local Government Commission is in no way, shape or form hindering the operations of local democratic organs in Guyana, Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan has assured.
Of recent, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has been calling on Government to put into operation the long-awaited commission.
Bulkan, in an interview on Wednesday, said the operationalisation of the Local Government Commission remains high on Government’s agenda – a commitment which it will uphold.
He made it clear that the absence of the body is not stymying the work of the Regional Democratic Councils, municipalities and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils.
“I have said before that despite the fact that these commitments have been given for the operationalisation of the commission, the absence of this commission in no way, shape or form hinders the operations or the functioning of our local democratic organs,” the Minister of Communities stated.
He said when put into operation, the Local Government Commission will be responsible for the regulation and staffing of local democratic organs. These functions are currently being discharged by his ministry.
Minister Bulkan said he has taken note of the calls by the Opposition.
“I have said before and I will say again, that our local democratic organs have had their democratic credentials renewed with the holding of Local Government Elections earlier this year and these organs are now peopled by councillors who understand that they are operating within a new framework, one in which they have the authority and are allowed to manage and govern the affairs of their respective communities,” he explained.
The Minister of Communities made it clear that his ministry is not interfering in the functioning of the local organs.
“The ministry is not engaged or involved in some sinister campaign to usurp the authority of our local democratic organs which are currently being allowed to function with independence,” he assured.
However, the minister did not indicate when he will submit his nominees for the commission. President David Granger is also mandated to submit his nominations to form the commission of eight.
Former Town Clerk Carol Sooba and former Local Government Ministers Norman Whittaker and Clinton Collymore are the nominees put forward by the PPP to sit on the commission.
On Tuesday, the PPP picketed the Ministry of the Presidency calling for the commission to be established.
PPP Executive Member Zulfikar Mustapha told reporters that the minister has been in the habit of postponing the appointment of this vital body.
It was pointed out that September 30 was the last date given by the minister for operationalisation of the commission, but this is still to materialise.