There will be no more Interim Management Committees (IMCs); no more handpicking of councillors for Local Democratic Organs (LDOs) done by any Government.Minister Bulkan speaking at the Council meeting in Region Five, Mahaica-BerbiceThis pronouncement was made by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, on Saturday during a Local Democratic Organ Consultative Committee meeting in Region Five, Mahaica-Berbice.Minister Bulkan said the coalition Government is committed to changing the political culture from one of centralised governance, where “the winner takes all”, to one of empowering democratically elected people with the right to make their own decisions, and to manage and develop their own areas free from outside control.In his address on effective local governance, Minister Bulkan quoted from Article 12 of the Constitution, which states that a Local Government comprising freely elected representatives of the people is an integral part of the democratic organisation of the state.The minister recounted that even though LDOs existed in the past, they were subject to pressures that degraded their limited capacity and left them largely dysfunctional.“The political culture is changing, and we are moving to a position of decentralised government, in keeping with the provisions of the Constitution and with respect for the provisions of the Constitution,” he declared.He stressed that Government’s mandate is to restore functionality — which was so badly damaged — to the councils. “We will not go back to a situation that existed and reached its height in the first decade of this century, 2001 to 2011; particularly 2006 to 2011, (when) one individual, a micro-manager, felt that he alone had the right to make decisions, and whatever he saw or wherever his gaze extended was his domain.”According to Minister Bulkan, local democracy is important when division exists in a society, since a winner- takes-all model makes politics confrontational.He added, “But if, instead, you have this system with one Central Government, ten fully empowered regional Governments (and) municipal townships, then it is not so important who is President, because people will have a council in their area that has the fullest possible authority to look after their affairs. The stakes wouldn’t be so high; it wouldn’t matter who is in charge.”In attendance at the meeting were staffers of the Ministry of Communities, councillors of the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) and the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs), and staff members of the regional administration, among others. The meeting was chaired by Regional Executive Officer of Region Five, Ovid Morrison.The Regional Chairman of the PPP/Civic-controlled Regional Democratic Council (RDC), his Vice Chairman and other PPP/C councillors were noticeably absent from the event.Minister Bulkan held a similar consultation in Region Three, Essequibo Islands/West Demerara, on Wednesday, April 5. The meeting was intended as an interactive session with both regional officials and members of the NDCs, but was also boycotted by most of the PPP/C councillors. Only three were in attendance.