This Act provides for local government in Guyana. It defines functions and powers of village councils, country councils and rural authorities.The Minister may enforce obligations of local authorities in the field of supply of water and sewerage and may exercise the powers of a local authority whenever is appears expedient to the Minister to do so. The Minister may also make By-laws for, among other things, the management and administration of villages and country districts and rights relating waterworks between villages or country districts. The Minister shall be the rural authority for any rural district.Every village shall have a village council and every country district shall have a country authority. Both shall be constituted as a body corporate. This Act vests movable and immovable property in local authorities including non-granted State land and all undivided land, pastures, dams watercourses, etc. shall be under the management and control of a local authority. Undivided land and pastures may be given in tenancy. Local authorities may make By-laws regarding cutting of wood and fishing and may order the maintenance of waterworks on private lands. The Act also defines the right of a local authority to purchase and dispose of lands and powers of a local authority with respect to drainage.
Amended by: Local Government (Amendment) Act (No. 5 of 2015). (2015-08-05)
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Originally a Dutch colony in the 17th century, by 1815 Guyana had become a British possession. The abolition of slavery led to settlement of urban areas by former slaves and the importation of indentured servants from India to work the sugar plantations. The resulting ethnocultural divide has persisted and has led to turbulent politics. Guyana achieved independence from the UK in 1966, and since then it has been ruled mostly by socialist-oriented governments. In 1992, Cheddi JAGAN was elected president in what is considered the country's first free and fair election since independence.