ARGENTINA: By means of a government resolution published on August 21, operation of the Roca, San Martín and Belgrano Sur commuter networks in Buenos Aires is to be transferred to federal railway operating company SOFSE. A new operating agreement is to be concluded within 90 days.Federal railway infrastructure company ADIF SE will be responsible for executing infrastructure projects, with the exception of those currently being undertaken by UGOFE. Formed by suburban concessionaires Ferrovías and Metrovías, UGOFE has been responsible for operating the San Martín route since 2004 and the Roca and Belgrano Sur networks since 2007, after the concessions held by Metropolitano were revoked by the government. Ferrovías holds the concession to operate the Belgrano Norte route, while the Urquiza line is operated by Buenos Aires metro concessionaire Metrovías. Since the government revoked the concession held by Trenes de Buenos Aires in 2012, the Mitre and Sarmiento networks have been operated by UGOMS.
The A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) is seemingly drifting away from the commitments made on the campaign trail, and its promise of a revitalisation of local democracy. This is according to former Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon, who was speaking to journalists at his party’s weekly media briefing, at Freedom House on Monday.Dr Luncheon said the current Administration is moving away from its promise of local democracy and social cohesion; critical issues it promised before taking the helm of Government.“Speaking about local government and the Granger Government and its emphasis publicly and repetitively on things like local democracy and social cohesion… there are a couple of instances that begs the question, how sincere is the Granger Government in its talk of local democracy and social cohesion and to remind you that for a political party, trust is fundamental; if it behooves the [People’s Progressive Party] PPP to view the Granger Government with the greatest distrust and to concede that nothing the Granger Government says publicly cannot be accepted as a fact until it is carried out, then we are in dire circumstances,” Luncheon said.He pointed to a meeting between Government and the Mayors of three local authority areas that have controlling PPP presence, held at the Marriott Hotel. The issue discussed was the National Regional Development Committee. Luncheon said due process was not followed as the invitation to meet came a mere 24 hours before the actual appointment.Former Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon“This Administration speaks to social cohesion and local democracy and time after time examples are on the table to walk the walk and you all know what the stance of this Administration is,” he added.Luncheon also addressed the issue of the tied Councils of the local Authority area, and reminded that Government wanted to resolve the issue, contrary to what the PPP had insisted was lawful. That bickering had caused the matter to be taken to the court, now months later, there still has not been a resolution.The PPP/Civic had moved to the courts to stop Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan from illegally appointing a Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Mabaruma in Region One (Barima-Waini), as well as the Chairpersons and Vice Chairpersons in five other local authority areas in which the PPP/C and the APNU/AFC had the same number of seats, after the LGE.Bulkan had appointed officials of the Gibraltar-Fyrish, Industry-Plaisance NDC; Malgre Tout-Meer Zorgen and Woodlands-Bel Air NDCs; and a Mayor of the municipality of Mabaruma.However, the court quashed those appointments and ruled in favour of the PPP/C on the grounds that they were contrary to, and in violation of, Municipal and District Councils Act Chapter 28:01 and the Local Government Act Chapter 28:02.Justice Diana Insanally said the decision “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, ultravires, null, void and of no legal effect”.