Jul 27, 2016 News
Vickchand Ramphal, the Chairman of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) for Administrative Region Number Five (Mahaica/Berbice), yesterday stated that the alleged continuous disruptions by Councillors of the A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) to hold Statutory Meetings, is stalling the development of the Constituency.
The Chairman made these assertions at a Press Briefing hosted by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) headquarters – Freedom House, Robb Street, Georgetown, yesterday in the presence of other Councillors.
Ramphal said yesterday that the situation has seen no incisive reaction from the President, “whose honour the unruly Councillors are seeking to have untarnished by extracting an apology from me, the Regional Chairman.”
“I feel compelled to publicly highlight that the inability to hold Statutory Meetings of the Council because of the behaviour of the APNU+AFC Councillors (which) has tremendously affected the work of the Council.”
The consequences he said, are ‘disastrous’ with the Council being unable to deliver services to residents; services which he said, they are entitled to. He added that the Council has been unable to excavate and clean important canals, drains and trenches that come under its control. This, he said, has resulted in millions of dollars in damage due to the recent floods. The council has also been unable to monitor the two hospitals and several health care centres throughout the region.
He added that the Council has been unable to execute its community road programmes and as a result, streets throughout the Region have fallen into disrepair and are now in a deplorable condition.
“The Council has been unable to address the educational needs in the Region; as a result schools are falling apart throughout the Region; in fact, the children of Mortice, Mahaicony Nursery School have been without a school building for over two months; the Region has been unable to oversee the award of contracts and as a result, contracts continue to be awarded without any scrutiny by the Council. These are only some of the problems which the residents of Region Five endure daily because Statutory Meetings of the Council are not held,” he said.
He said the RDC will continue to appeal to President David Granger and Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan to intervene incisively to end the “monstrous” seven-month long situation of the RDC.
“Needless to say, we will continue to explore all legal and democratic channels available as we continue to challenge this outrage.”
On Thursday last, the Statutory Meeting was disrupted for the seventh time in recent months, he had stated. These disruptions being done allegedly by the hands of the APNU+AFC Councillors, have stemmed from the Chairman supposedly absenting himself from an event earlier this year where the President presented two 30-seater buses to transport schoolchildren.
The councillors have since demanded that Ramphal offer a formal apology to the President before normalcy returns to the Council.
The Chairman however, is defiant, saying that he will not offer an apology. He said yesterday that during the President’s visit, he was at the time in the backlands engaging several farmers in the Constituency during the El Nino occurrence. He added that he was not formally invited to the event which was deemed by the General Secretary, Clement Rohee – who was also present at the briefing – as a ‘political function’.
Rohee brushed aside the question by media operatives about whom the vehicles will benefit by saying that, “it was not the argument’. He went on to say that the bus – which had the colours of the APNU+AFC prominently displayed – was an indication that the event was political and not a State function.
Rohee added that the PPP/C has advised its councillors to not attend political functions. He continued that during the event, an APNU+AFC Political Activist (unnamed), was featured on the programme. This activist, Rohee said, was tasked with welcoming the President and his entourage – an undertaking which was supposed to be done by Ramphal.
Asked how long this will continue to happen at the Council and who will make the first move to get a handle on the situation, Rohee said that the Government should answer these questions and the persons should “call off their dogs”.
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