Mabaruma mayoral election fiasco…maintains by-elections should have been heldThe People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Councillors in Mabaruma have collectively decided to continue their boycott of all meetings chaired by incumbent Mayor Rupert Henry Smith after he was re-appointed Mayor by Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan.In keeping with the instructions of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01, the Town Council of Mabaruma, Region One (Barima-Waini) held elections for the posts of Mayor and Deputy Mayor on Monday last.Smith was nominated as the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For ChangeMayor Rupert Henry Smith(APNU/AFC) pick for the mayoral chair while Councillor Vibert Emmanuel was the PPP/C’s pick and following the voting process a tie of 6:6 was declared. This according to Chapter 28:01 resulted in the need for another round of voting, which was done with the same results. However, Town Clerk Barrington Ward wrote to Minister Bulkan requesting his intervention.In a letter dated March 15, Bulkan appointed Smith Mayor.“By virtue of the authority vested in the Minister of Communities in Section 13 (8) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01, which also provides that in such circumstances the Minister shall select one of the above-nominated Councillors as the Mayor, it is hereby declared that Councillor Henry Rupert Smith is the Mayor of the municipality of Mabaruma for the ensuing year,” the letter noted.This, however, did not go down well with the PPP/C Councillors, who were furious at the Minister’s appointment, since they have a matter of similar nature before the courts. The Councillors have collectively decided to continue their protest of boycotting all meetings chaired by Smith.This position was related to Guyana Times by Opposition Member of ParliamentPPP/C MP Collin Croal(MP) for the Region, Collin Croal. He noted that the Councillors would continue working for the betterment of their constituents, but would not support the person that sat in the mayoral chair unless a democratic process was employed for his or her election.“The Councillors all would continue to do their work and attend the committee meetings and the statutory meeting, but when the instrument is handed over (at the statutory meeting) and the Mayor have to chair it, then they will walk out of that meeting,” he explained.“By staying there and recognising the Mayor would give legitimacy to his post and it was not a democratic process that got him there,” Croal added.Croal further related that in the event of a second tie, according to Section 13(6) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, the power to break that tie lay with the registered voters within the town. According to Section 13(6) of the Municipal and District Councils Act, “on account of equality of votes, the Town Clerk shall appoint a date not later than December 28 in the same year for the election of the Mayor from the tied candidates by the voters whose names appear on the register of voters, for the time being in force, for the city.”In April of 2017, Justice Diana Inshanally quashed the appointment of Smith as the Mayor and ordered that fresh elections be held. The ruling was as a result of PPP’s Zulfikar Mustapha challenging the decision by Bulkan to appoint a mayor after there was a 6-6 tie in the number of seats won at the 2016 Local Government Elections.Justice Inshanally noted that the appointment violated the Municipal and District Councils Act because it was “is in excess of and without jurisdiction, made in bad faith, is unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, based upon irrelevant and improper considerations, mala fide, malicious, vindictive, unlawful, ultra vires, null, void, and of no legal effect”.With the same situation playing out again, Croal said that they were still awaiting a ruling on the 2016 case, which would decide if they were to challenge Smith’s appointment once again.He added that they would continue their protest as Smith was expected to be sworn in as Mayor for a third term soon.