Task force mulling three vote options Stabroek News
June 12, 2002

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The task force on local government reform has narrowed down to three, the six options for an electoral system under which the next local government elections will be held.

Australian electoral expert, Dr Benjamin Riley, had suggested the six options to the task force when he visited Guyana earlier this year. The National Democratic Institute made his services available to the task force.

A release from the Government Information Agency (GINA) quotes co-chair of the task force, Minister in the Ministry of Local Government, Clinton Collymore as saying that only three of Dr Riley’s six options were applicable to Guyana. The other co-chair is PNC/R vice-chairman, Vincent Alexander.

One the options being considered calls for the names of all of the candidates contesting election for a local government area to be listed and those receiving the highest number of votes would then be declared elected.

The other option is a constituency or ward system that requires the local government area to be divided into constituencies or wards. The candidates with the highest number of votes in each of the constituencies/wards would then be declared elected to represent those constituencies/wards on the council for the area. There is no proportionality in this system, but voters would be able to elect a particular councillor to represent and be accountable to them.

The third option is a mixed system under which some councillors would be elected by proportional representation and some directly by constituencies/wards. Under this system the seats on the council to be elected by proportional representation would be allocated in proportion to the votes cast for a particular party or group.

The release said that persons contesting the local government elections could have a logo placed beside their names so that voters will know which party the person represents.

The task force was established by the Jagdeo/Hoyte dialogue process to make recommendations for local government reform as well as the amendments necessary to the existing legislation. The task force has engaged Professor Keith Massiah to assist in drafting the amendments that are necessary.