May 22, 2012 News
…Deputy Mayor blasts Minister for presiding over injustice
The New Amsterdam Mayor and Town Council is up in arms over what it called the high handed and callous behaviour of the Ministry of Local Government.
The Junior Minister of Local Government, Norman Whittaker, suspended two officers of the Council for one month. The Minister reportedly failed to respond to letters sent to him by both the Mayor Claude Henry and Deputy Mayor Harold Debydeen, seeking clarification of the situation.
Minister Norman Whittaker by way of a letter dated January 27, 2012 and addressed to Health Officer, Ackloo Ramsudh, and Sergeant Paul Beaton, suspended both of them from the council for one month without pay. The suspension became effective February 1, 2012.
However, the council rejected that decision of the Minister and instructed both officers to remain on the job. However, although the men worked they were not paid for the month.
The municipality had stated that the men had done nothing wrong and had also stated that they were unaware of any investigation carried out.
According to the letter sent by the Minister and seen by this publication there was an investigation following a report of misconduct.
According to the Minister’s letter under the heading “the Charge” the two men are accused of utilising the Council’s vehicle for a purpose other than which it was intended, on November 16, 2011.
The Minister also accused the men of doing political work contrary to their official duties and without lawful authority. They are accused of obtaining the signatures and National Identification Numbers of inmates from The Dharm Shala at Canje on proxy forms for the purpose of voting at the last general Elections held on November 28, 2011 without their consent and authority, a charge which both men denied.
Deputy Mayor Harold Debydeen, in a reply to the Minister’s missive dated January 27, 2012; the Deputy Mayor accused the Minister of suspending the men without the Knowledge of The Town Council. He stated that at no time was the council aware of any purported investigation.
He added that the council should have been integrally involved, even with someone on the Investigative Committee if there was such a committee.
According to Debydeen, he has seen a statement allegedly submitted by the Health Inspector to the purported investigation which stated that on the day in question he was in the company of Deputy Mayor Debydeen doing Council business. He remained in the vehicle while Mr. Debydeen went inside the Dharm Shala.
According to the Deputy Mayor, he is very alarmed that he was not called or contacted by the purported investigator to corroborate the allegations.
Debydeen in his letter stated categorically that, on the day in question or any other day, the two suspended officers while in his company as deputy mayor, were not involved in any such activity as alleged by the Minister. He blasted the Minister for being involved in a serious miscarriage of justice.
The Deputy Mayor asked If, indeed, such offences as alleged by the Minister were committed whether it could be known of the names of the persons from whom signatures were procured on the Guyana Elections Commission forms.
He is also asking for the names of the “other persons not known to the inmates” who cast ballots and at which polling stations these votes were cast. He informed the Minister that the information is not secret as the law requires GECOM to publish such a list at the place of poll.
He is also asking if the said allegations were checked and substantiated by GECOM and whether GECOM took any action as required by law.
Since that letter, and one also written by Mayor Henry almost three months ago, there has been no response from the Minister.
The matter was fully discussed by Council and they want the men to be paid their one month salary with full benefits and for the matter to be fully withdrawn. They feel enough time has elapsed, thus their decision to go public.
The Council says that it will go all the way to reverse the atrocity and injustice meted out to its officers. It is also prepared to take the matter to court.
The Deputy Mayor said that the government is double standard. He added that it should practice what it preaches.
He said that the very government used taxpayers’ money and government employees, including numerous public servants to campaign during the run up to the elections.
Among them were Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon, the various Permanent Secretaries, and right in Berbice, the head of the Berbice Regional Health Authority Dr Vishwarnauth Mahadeo.
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