It was a chaotic scene at the Bohemia Primary School, Lower Corentyne, Berbice, on Sunday as residents called for the removal of the Neighborhood Democratic Council (NDC) Chairman Bud Seepersaud from office.
“He is a consistent liar! He is a thief! We nah want he!” the residents shouted when Minister of Agriculture Robert Persaud visited the flood-hit area.
Residents also displayed placards, at times waving them in the minister’s face, particularly when he entered the school compound, where he managed to later host a very confrontational meeting with the residents.
The controversy between the residents and the chairman started because of the inefficiency of the NDC.
The situation worsened last week when Seepersaud reportedly gave permission for a very important dam to be slashed in order for water to be drained from the access road leading to the Berbice River Bridge.
Dipcon, the company that is constructing the road leading to the bridge, reportedly got permission to cut the Seawell Dam, East Coast Berbice, from the Chairman.
This later led to the detriment of residents in that area, since flood waters began to rise in their communities.
The heavy rainfall last Sunday compounded the effect of the floodwaters. Residents became even more annoyed with the NDC chairman after he failed to report the incident to the Regional Office.
According to the residents, two days following the high waters in their villages, the chairman maintained that he had the situation under control.
“We report it to the region but he tell the people in the Region Office that he controlling what going on. We still report it, and that is when the Regional Chairman step in to ease the situation,” a resident told Kaieteur News.
At the meeting in the Bohemia Primary School on Sunday, villagers refused to have the NDC chairman accommodated at the gathering.
After the intervention by Minister Persaud, the chairman managed to stay in the meeting, but was not given a chance to speak despite numerous attempts by the Agriculture Minister to have him explain himself.
“This chairman don’t even live in this village, and the area don’t even have a council. We don’t want this man as we chairman, he ain’t doing nothing fuh we,” one resident told Minister Persaud.
But the meeting became even more confrontational when the minister attempted to have the overseer for the area explain some of the plans that are in place for the development of the communities under the specific NDC.
“I don’t know what are the plans,” the overseer said.
This prompted Minister Persaud to ask her, “What do you mean you don’t know what are the plans for the communities? Are you not the overseer?” he asked.
At this point, residents began complaining vehemently about the lack of progress in the communities because of inefficient management.
But even as residents complained, one of the overseer’s relatives began to shout at those in the meeting telling them, “Well, if ya’ll can do the wuk, then do it!”
This prompted another confrontation.
After almost ten minutes of cross-talking among the gathering, Minister Persaud managed to calm the crowd, assuring them that a full investigation will be launched.
He pointed out that the area is one of many that are in urgent need of Local Government elections.
Residents also complained about the lack of access to potable water, since the Guyana Water Inc. pump in the area is continually not working.
“Three to four weeks we does deh without water, and when we report it to the NDC chairman he seh he nah wuk with GWI. We nah want he as chairman of the NDC,” a woman told the minister.
Meanwhile, the dam that was slashed has since been sealed, following orders by Persaud.
Speaking with Kaieteur News after the meeting, the NDC chairman denied allegations by residents that he gave permission to Dipcon to cut the dam.
“I did not give no permission at anytime, because it does not fall under this NDC…I was there when the chairman of the NDC under which that (dam) falls, give permission, and not me give any permission,” Seepersaud told this newspaper.
However, the company has since related that Seepersaud indeed gave them permission to cut the dam.
The NDC chairman told Kaieteur News that many of his problems with persons in the area arose out of a personal issue that he had with a resident some time ago.
Apart from the meeting at Bohemia, Persaud also hosted meetings at Rose Hall, Ithaca, Blairmont and D’Edward Villages.
At all of the meetings, issues relating to poor management of the NDCs, sluices, unfinished projects and drainage were raised. (Tusika Martin)
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