During the last three years, the government has spent a significant amount of time correcting the mistakes of the previous administrations. At the same time, it has acknowledged and at least taken responsibility for its own mistakes.
The government had campaigned on change, accountability and transparency, and the people believed and voted accordingly. While there have been some changes such as the cleaning of Georgetown, a lower crime rate, reduced corruption and the illegal sale of narcotics, it seems that the government has not been accountable or transparent as promised. But in fairness to the government, it did not promise to change everything at once, so the people have to be patient.
However, as reported in this newspaper and other media outlets, there are huge problems at the regional level, particularly in Regions Five and Six. Many are concerned that the people in those regions are not getting value for their money.
Political infighting and alleged corrupt practices have resulted in poor services being rendered to the people in those regions. It seems that the appointments of the Regional Executive Officers (REOs) of both regions would have helped to solve the problems in the regions. But as time went by, mismanagement and gross incompetence have surfaced in both regions.
While there is evidence to suggest that the REOs of both regions may not have the organizational skills and ability needed to manage the regions, it is true that the majority PPP councillors are just as culpable for the mismanagement of the regions. The management of the regions is extremely poor and the services provided to the people in both regions are pitiful. It would be difficult for the regions and by extension the country to develop under such mismanagement. Governments past and present have practised nepotism and cronyism by allowing party membership to trump qualifications and experience. Both major parties are guilty of this practice, which is tragic for the advancement of the country.
Residents have been complaining about the poor services being rendered to them by the Regional Democratic Councils (RDCs) in both regions, but there has not been any response. But with election due in two years, a response might be forthcoming, but it may be too late. As reported in this newspaper, the regions continue to flout the procurement procedures by spending huge sums of money on equipment without doing due diligence.
Region Six which only a few months ago had a scandal over a bulldozer which had to be returned to a contractor because someone accepted a faulty bulldozer that cost the taxpayers $15 million. However, the contractor repaid the region for the bulldozer. As if that was not bad enough, Region Six is about to purchase another bulldozer; a D6 Angle Blade bulldozer for $85M. This is raising eyebrows because estimates show that the same bulldozer cost about $40 million.
In the case of Region Five, it seems that REO’s style of politics is not serving the region well. The region has been plagued with scandals, and political infighting and an ill-informed REO. In his first year in office, the REO had threatened to withhold the salaries of teachers who travel abroad during the July-August school holidays. This was embarrassing to the Ministry of Education, which debunked the threat. Not long after, it was alleged that the REO transferred a nurse from the Fort Wellington Hospital to another hospital miles away because she had refused to administer the narcotic drug, Pethidine to a Region Five PNC councillor who became addicted to the drug. Her usage of the drugs over the years has cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.
The nurse who worked at the Fort Wellington Hospital for many years had the courage to uphold her pledge to not administer any harmful medicine to patients and for this she was punished. What is even worse, there has been an overwhelming silence by the authorities against the injustice meted out to the nurse for doing the right thing.
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