Oct 04, 2010 News
ROSE HALL, CORENTYNE – The man who reportedly performed the duties as coordinator of the Rose Hall Town Anniversary Celebration is crying foul and is appealing to the Ministry of Local Government to investigate what he called unscrupulous activities conducted by the Chairman of the Interim Management Committee-IMC.
Dauren Deonarine, President of Da Entertainment Zone, complained that he was short-changed.
“I worked tirelessly to give them the best Town Day ever in Rose Hall Town and at the end of it I cannot be compensated for my personal monies spent on the Council’s behalf. I feel used and abused. I was told by the Chairman of the Rose Hall IMC, Bhadenauth Somrah to use my money and they would reimburse me at the end of the week of activities but no such thing happened. The Council owes me a total of $191,800.”
He explained that this sum was accumulated over a period for putting things in place for the Town Week from the time he was appointed Coordinator. Actual planning for the activities began in November 2009.
“From then (November) I was named the Coordinator of the Town Week and I conducted all the initial work and continued right through,” Deonarine explained.
In June, the Chairman of the IMC announced that the Rose Hall Town Anniversary Committee was debarred from organising the town’s anniversary and cited dishonest practices on their part.
Rose Hall Town celebrated its 40th anniversary on September 19th and activities were held in observance from then until September 26th. In the early stages, Chairman of the Interim Management Committee, Bhadenauth Somrah identified Deonarine as the coordinator. However, as the event drew closer, almost at the last minute, he announced that the Town Clerk Bhoopnarine Tickapersaud would be the new coordinator.
Somrah had said that this was based on a decision made by the Ministry of Local Government after conflict with the Rose Hall Town Anniversary and Development Committee, on whose right it is to host events for the anniversary celebration. The Ministry instructed the IMC to coordinate the event but it can select any organisation or individual to work along with.
Now the tables have turned and what was said to be a life-long friendship is being put to the test. Deonarine explained that it was only in August, during a meeting with an official of the Ministry of Local Government, that he learnt he was not the coordinator and that he could only handle the entertainment aspect. This he said was already known to Mr. Somrah for quite some time.
“He didn’t inform me because apparently he wanted me to continue spending my funds. He (IMC Chairman) later told me he thought that I was doing a good job and didn’t want the Council to handle it. But I later learnt it was for financial reasons. Because I made all the initial arrangements and despite the instructions from the Ministry I was still technically tasked with coordinating.”
Deonarine said the representative of the Ministry also advised him not to collect any funds on the IMC’s behalf. Two days before the September 19th official opening of the Town Week, Deonarine was reportedly informed that the IMC would have to spend money from its coffers since no sponsorship was collected for the events. Despite this, all the activities went ahead as planned with input from both the IMC and Da Entertainment Zone.
The final ‘blow-up’ came after the last event on Sunday, September 26th, when the Chairman of the IMC told Deonarine that he must pay for using the Area ‘H’ Ground on the two previous nights.
“This was not the case initially. I was not told before I had to pay. Actually, they said it was $40,000 a night to use the ground so it amounted to $80,000 for the two nights. I was also told I did not clean the ground the Saturday night to their liking so I have to pay an additional $20,000.”
According to him, he queried the demand made and enquired about the money owed to him.
“Mr. Somrah asked, ‘What money? We don’t owe you anything.’ Initially I was told I would be reimbursed for all the money I spent with regards to the Council’s activities but not for the entertainment aspect.”
Deonarine claimed that after he was not getting the answers he needed, he contacted Somrah again on September 28th and an argument ensued. “He told me I should have known that I wouldn’t be getting this money back. I threatened to take legal action and to report it to the Ministry of Local Government, the Office of the President and the different embassies in Guyana. His words to me were, ‘Do what you have to do’.
According to him, on Friday last, the PNC/R Councilors invited him to a meeting at the IMC’s Boardroom to deal with the issue.
“The Clerk told me that Mr. Somrah said it is an in-house meeting and I can’t enter so basically the Councilors would have to listen to his part only. Before the meeting, they also asked me for a financial statement for the Pensioners’ Quarters. I showed it to the Secretary but did not give them a copy. I told them they would get a copy as soon as I get my money.”
His group had spent some $238,990 (cash) while the IMC injected $66,120 (worth of material) and partners of Da Entertainment Zone contributed $129,240 (worth of material) to rehabilitate the Pensioners’ Quarter. The venture was completed before September 19th, despite the memorandum of understating that it would be started after the Town’s anniversary.
He further added that the Officials of the Rose Hall Town IMC requested a financial statement for the entertainment aspect as well but he would not give any.
“I said you charging me to use the ground. You say that I did not clean it to your satisfaction. Therefore if I am paying for the ground, I am paying for the cleaning and everything, and as such it is considered a private event and I do not have to submit any financial statements to you.”
In previous interviews with the Chairman of the IMC conducted by the Kaieteur News, he spoke highly, on each occasion, of the job Dauren Deonarine and his team had been doing in terms of getting the work done for the week of activities and even for the Pensioners’ Quarters.
On September 29th Deonarine penned a letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government, Nigel Daramlal and sent copies to the Chairman of the IMC, Town Clerk and six councilors. But somehow, a copy leaked out and was given to the Kaieteur News by a party who also had a score to settle with the organisers of Town Day 2010.
Deonarine described Town Day 2010 as a success and thanked all those who made it possible. “Da Entertainment Zone washed it hands thoroughly of the Rose Hall Town anniversary celebrations or other events conducted by the Council.”
When contacted, Chairman of the Rose Hall IMC, Bhadenauth Somrah said that matter is in the hands of the Council and he would not make public statements on the issue. However, he added, “The anniversary is finished and whatever allegations he (Deonarine) is making are baseless. Da Entertainment Zone received the income from gates and other sources and therefore they should deal with the expenses. It’s simple as that. The Council did not receive any major income.”
According to Somrah, the IMC spent some $270,000 from its coffers for the events along with $50,000 received as donation. “It’s more or less greed. Only greed would cause conflict.”
He said that when any organisation or individual choose to offer assistance to the IMC, it should be for the development of the town or with the town’s best interest at heart and not for personal gain. “Whatever proceeds would have been garnered from the anniversary should go towards the development of the town and not in people’s pockets. We owe no one. The Council had to coordinate the anniversary and the entertainment was given to them. They had to invest and go on with the business they committed themselves to. That is as far as I would go with this issue.”
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