Georgetown, Guyana – (April 07, 2016) Three more towns are expected be named in the coming months as President Granger continues to champion the development of Capital Towns, which are intended to be strong economic centres in all ten administrative regions of Guyana.

Speaking on the Ministry of the Presidency’s ‘The Public Interest’ programme, which was recorded this morning, the President said that it is his belief that ‘capital towns’ will lead to economically stable communities and regions and it is his intention therefore to ensure that all of the ten administrative regions have one.

“It is a matter I have raised with the Minister of Communities. There are three coastal regions, which do not have capital towns; Region Three, Region Four and Region Five but I am looking to create three towns in these regions so that every region can have a capital town. So that it can have its own banks, public services, NIS [National Insurance Scheme] offices, GRA [Guyana Revenue Authority] offices [and so on]. Anybody must be able to go to these capital towns and transact their business… All of the government functions which are centralised should be decentralised,” he said.

In the meantime, the President said that his administration believes in the power of the people and their ability to determine what is right and wrong for their communities and as such, will not interfere in the administration of the municipalities and districts.

“We believe that all politics is local and we look at the grassroots. We want to see people in the community saying what is best for their community. We need better roads, better lights, and solid waste management and there is nothing political about that. I don’t see the intrusion of party politics. What I see is people, who can gather around a table and decide what is best for that community. At the same time, I don’t want any of those regions or municipalities to go to war with central government. We need to work together and that is why when I spoke to the Mayors I opened the door for cooperation and collaboration,” the President said.

Questioned on why Mahdia has not yet gained township status like Bartica, Lethem and Mabaruma, the President explained there were legal and technical issues associated with the community becoming a town, but assured that it will be done before the end of the year.

Before a town could be declared or demarcated, you have to agree on the boundaries so it is a legal boundary matter. You cannot just call Mahdia [a town], because no one knows where it actually ends and of course you have to be in compliance. It will be done this year but it is a very complicated region. It is a legal and technical issue, not a political one,” he said.

This week, the President swore in new Mayors and Deputy Mayors, after the first Local Government elections in two decades and emphasised the importance of their role in regional development. On the Public Interest, he re-iterated his call for non-partisan functioning within the Councils to ensure that local issues are addressed.

The President called on those, who have been elected to put aside all political differences and vendettas and work for the development of their communities and the residents so that a better Guyana can be built.

“I am aware that people come from different political parties; some are independent, some belong to established political parties but they swore an oath to act without fear or favour, affection or ill will and I think Guyana has a powerful opportunity now to move the forward economically… So it is really an appeal to the Mayors… to put aside their political differences. The central, the regional and local governments have to work together if we are to move forward… People would always have political preferences but those preferences must never be antagonistic,” the President noted.

Regional Flags

The President, when questioned on whether he believes national pride will serve to reduce political and racial incitement among Guyanese, noted that he believes it starts at a community level and as such.

“I would go a step further and say we need to develop regional pride and that is what I have started to see coming out. We have already proposed to the regions, regional flags… I see a region in Guyana as being a state in America. And I see local pride and I believe that the local government elections should encourage that. I don’t smother that pride,” he said.

The President said that the Minister of Communities has already introduced the flags to the Regional Chairpersons but it is not ‘done deal’ since it is proposal and not a directive. “I expect that there will be discussions. It is a consultative process. We are not laying down anything. There is no deadline or timeline but I would like to see every region showing pride,” President Granger noted.

The Head of State noted that the flags must represent the regions, especially the flora and fauna for which Guyana is quite known for.

“I see these flags representing local pride. People in Bartica are proud being ‘Barticans’ and are upset when people call them Barticians. People are proud of coming from Mabaruma. People are proud of being Berbicians… I would like to see the flags showing the characteristics and the resources of those regions and it is okay for them to propose to us, symbols. As you know Guyana has some of the richest fauna and some of the most luxuriant flora in the world and I expect that you will be seeing flags in due course with the Harpy Eagle or the Canje Pheasant,” the President said.

The Public Interest will be aired on Friday, April 8, 2016 at 7:00 pm on the National Communications Network.

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