– body protects constitutional rights of citizens – PresidentBy Shemuel FanfairPresident David Granger said the appointment of the Local Government Commission will see protection of the constitutional rights of citizensAfter years of delay, the appointees to the Local Government Commission (LGC) were on Monday sworn in at State House by President David Granger, who reiterated that the move reflects his Administration’s commitment to good governance. However, the operationalisation of the body comes 19 months after the historic return of Local Government Elections in Guyana, and it ends a lengthy back and forth between Government and the Opposition over the non-functionality of the constitutional organ.The Commission’s members are Mortimer Mingo, Clement Corlette, Marlon Williams, Jo Ann Romascindo, Andrew Garnett, former Local Government Ministers Norman Whittaker and Clinton Collymore, and former Georgetown Town Clerk, Carol Sooba. In his short address, President David Granger offered congratulatory remarks to the Commissioners, urging them to execute their functions with integrity. He nevertheless noted that the appointment of the LGC will resolve disputes that may arise at the local government level, and added that this Commission falls in line with Government’s commitment to establish other constitutional bodies, including the Office of the Ombudsman, the Judicial Services Commission and the recently appointed Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).Former Town Clerk of Georgetown, Carol Sooba was sworn in as one of the LGC CommissionersThe Head of State pointed out that the rights of all citizens will be respected.“I pledge to ensure that the institutions mandated by our Constitution will continue to be honoured,” the President expressed.He encouraged Commissioners to uphold their mandate which would promote confidence in the local government system.Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan told reporters that the LGC will commence its work after members select a Chairman. The Commission would, among other things, have control over who gets appointed as officials in the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NSCs) and other local authorities.In addition, it would have to approve budgets for the NDCs. By law, the commission is to be made up of eight members. These members include four nominated from the Government, one from the unions and three nominees from the Leader of the Opposition.The parliamentary Opposition had named its nominees to the Local Government Commission since last year. However, it was reported that the Government did not submit its nominations which resulted in deadlock. One of the first public deadlines that Communities Minister Bulkan gave for the body to become functional was at a press conference during the time of the March 2016 Local Government Elections. When asked, during the latter part of the month for an explanation, the Minister had moved the deadline to the end of June 2016.In the Budget estimates for 2016, some $30 million was allocated by the Government to the non-functioning Commission. When asked, Bulkan had stated that this was to allow the Commission to operate independently to Central Government.