Mahdia in crisis…REO claims of vandalism to water system seek to criminalize miners- Regional officials
The recent claims of Regional Executive Officer for Region Eight, Ronald Harsaywack, about pipeline in Mahdia being vandalized have not gone down well with authorities and residents of the mining community.
During an interview with some residents of the community over the weekend, it was noted that the recent claims by the REO seek to criminalize miners. One of the Councilors of the region, Mr. Juan Hunter, said that Harsaywack’s claims of vandalism were baseless. Subsequent investigation revealed that the claims were misleading and dishonest.
“The REO mobilized regional resources; he did not inform the Regional Chairman neither did he inform the councilors. And to top it off even after his visit to Salbora he did not inform the police about the ‘vandalism’.
However this publication was told that instead of meeting with other regional officials to inform them of the situation and come up with a possible solution, the REO contacted Central Government and made a request for some $2M to fix the problem.
Hunter said that the councilors are not pleased with the way the matter was handled and that he does not intend to sit by and let the REO continue in this vein.
“The council in this region must be given an opportunity to investigate anything that happens in this region before Central Government is approached; the REO misled and lied to the council when he said the pipes were stolen,” Hunter lamented.
He added that the facts were brought to light when another councilor, Mohamed Gafoor, who is also on the Works Committee for the Region, visited the site. Gafoor who also spoke with this publication said that the disruption in the water system was a clear case of negligence of the engineer who did the last set of remedial works.
“I visited the area and no pipe is missing and being on the Works Committee I did my own assessment of the repair works needed to fix the situation. It will only cost some $200,000. We have been dealing with the water system for years,” Gafoor said.
Gafoor further questioned the motive of the REO.
“We will not accept or tolerate any form of corruption in this region. We are looking for development and we are the elected people of this region. How can the REO make a request from Central Government without the Chairman or the council not knowing?
“We are the people on the ground and we know what is needed in this region.”
Meanwhile residents of the community have said that they are not pleased with the statements which made the newspapers. The residents, many of whom are miners, said that it was their hard labour that brought Mahdia to the state it is today.
They questioned why they would sabotage the water system when they depend on the same system.