Looks like there will be more analyses and commentaries on our long-awaited LGE than the folks who actually turned out to vote. There was a lovely little cat fight between the GECOM Chairman (GC) and Commissioner Shaddick as to who was responsible for the abysmally low turnout. It went like this: Shaddick: “It’s GECOM’s fault!”; GC: “No! It’s the politicians’ fault!”; Shaddick: “Not so!”; GC: “Is too!” Loop and run this exchange about ten times and you’ll get an idea of the scintillating “call and response” routine.
Funny thing is – they were both right. (Your Eyewitness feels “Solomonic” this morning! Oh! For just half of the old codger’s wives!) GECOM did wait until it was too late in the day. And as was said before in this space, placed all its “voters’ education” eggs in the print media basket. We just don’t have a massive reading public. TV shows explaining what local government is all about… demonstrating what the voting form looked like…how to place the X’s and what happens when there are no “second half” of the form, might’ve been a better bet.
But once the political parties decided to enter the fray, they too should’ve gone out and done all of the above…but on the ground. No, so incidentally they could’ve also gotten in their licks. They waited until it was too late since, as the GC said, it was no secret LGE have notoriously low turnout rates.
Well, your Eyewitness hopes all this analysis doesn’t lead to paralysis in realising the great promise of Local Government in practice. And what’s this promise you ask, Dear Reader? Well that each of one us become masters of our fates and captains of our destiny in our neighbourhoods, thank you. Your garbage not getting picked up? Talk to your Constituency Rep. Ditto if that dead donkey’s been rotting at the head of the street and is about to explode.
So the more pertinent question is now we’ve gotten what we asked for (we did ask for LGE, didn’t we?)…who’s going to educate us, the hoi polloi, as to the implications of our new dawn? If we leave it to the political parties, they’ll simply be using the opportunity to build cadres and support for 2020. And intensifying our political divide.
GECOM should undertake this task and hopefully for the 2019 LGE, the exercise might finally end national politics dictating even whether our drains will be cleaned – and us not protesting even though we’re paying rates and taxes.
LGE might’ve delivered “victories” to the parties, but they can yet deliver victory to the people. It’s a two-edged sword.
…in the municipalities
Now that APNU’s won all the big municipalities, all eyes will be on them to put their money where their mouth is. Which is – to keep on improving Georgetown; move Bartica from its frontier “Wild West” anything-goes state, bring on Mahdia, etc. But as they “put” that money…they’ll have to do better than what they’ve been doing in Georgetown.
Even Stevie Wonder would admit Georgetown’s a much cleaner city today. But even he also would wonder (yes…yes…pun intended!) as to where all that money for the clean-up coming from, where’s it going and how about nailing all those rumours of friends and families of the Town Clerk and town Councillors using wheelbarrows to rake in their takings? Towns, after all, shouldn’t be excused from accountability and transparency and all the other excesses the PPP was accused of by APNU when THEY were in office, should they?
Ah well… It’s the dawning of a whole new age…and we’ll find out soon what’s it all about, won’t we, Alfie?
So how do we weigh the cachet of shopping like “foreign” at Massy versus throwing thousands of our neighbourhood shopkeepers and their help out of work and into the streets?