Georgetown, Guyana – (January 19, 2018) President David Granger, today, reminded regional officials and heads of municipalities that a rich country cannot be built on poor regions and as such, cooperation among local government organs is paramount. Speaking at the National Regional Development Consultative Committee’s (NRDCC) meeting, the Head of State said that, “We see each region developing the capability of attracting investors to encourage commerce with the Caribbean and other parts of the world and develop thriving business districts, industrial parks, busy highways and bustling stellings,” he said.

Heads of local government organs who participated at the NRDCC meeting. Seated in front row- President David Granger is flanked by Minister of Communities, Mr. Ronald Bulkan and Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Ms. Valerie Patterson-Yearwood. Minister of Public Affairs, Ms. Dawn Hastings-Williams is seated at fourth from left.

The President said that the Government of Guyana sees the establishment of NRDCC as a means of promoting cooperation among municipalities, neighbourhood democratic councils and regional democratic councils to achieve these common goals.

He explained that the Government operates at the local, regional and national levels and noted that all three tiers must work together to improve living standards and create a better quality of life for Guyanese citizens. In this regard, he lamented the absence of regional officials, particularly from certain Opposition-controlled Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs). “When regional chairmen refuse to attend important functions like these, you can see where divisionism starts…this is nothing less than administrative sabotage,” he said.

The President reminded those present that RDCs must, within the limits of the law, work with municipalities, Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs), Village Councils and other stakeholders to promote the development of their respective regions. Moreover, RDCs must superintend the work of NDCs and Village Councils, giving them support and assistance where needed. To this end, he said that the “NRDCC is an important step towards strengthening our system of modern and appropriate public administration.”

Meanwhile, Minister of Communities, Mr. Ronald Bulkan condemned statements made by Opposition Chief Whip, Ms. Gail Teixeira who referred to the NRDCC forum as sinister and said that it seeks to usurp the powers of the RDCs. He noted too that in his 2018 budget presentation, regional officials were told in no uncertain terms, about the importance of their participation of these high-level forums.

“The NRDCC is intended to serve as a mechanism for coordinating the development agenda of all there spheres of Government. The NRDCC is a step towards increasing the efficiency of the regional administrative structure to support the bottom-up approach to democratic governance…It will allow of more accountability and transparency, partnership among key stakeholders and planning which will aid in the effective delivery of public services throughout Guyana,” the Minister said.

Moreover, it will be a decisive step toward ensuring that the Government’s agenda of decentralisation is seamlessly implemented.

The event, which was held at the Marriott Hotel, was held under the theme, “Strengthening regional Governance through leadership and human resource development.”

Minister of Communities, Mr. Ronald Bulkan delivering his address at the opening ceremony.

President David Granger seated in the audience at the NRDCC meeting held at the Marriott Hotel.