There appears to be some amount of confusion in Region Six as it relates to the official list of names submitted by the Alliance for Change in 2015 to GECOM. The conflict seems to be with what was presented by AFC members in Berbice to the party’s head office after an AFC Regional Management Committee meeting held that year.
It was highlighted that the official list that was submitted to GECOM does not reflect what was actually produced by members of the AFC after a meeting was held that year.
Kaieteur News understands that there was a list signed to by members of the AFC in 2015 that showed six names presented for the National Geographical list and 18 for the National Top-up list.
In the geographical list category, Gobin Harbhajan led the list and was followed by Donna Mathoo, Ryan Crawford, Charrandass Persaud, Professor Daizal Samad and Nalini Lall. However, members of the AFC in Berbice were shocked when they reportedly found out some of their names were omitted and replaced with names such as Veersammy Ramaya, who was never on the list in the first place while Gobin Harbhajan, Ryan Crawford and Nalini Lall’s name were removed.
Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Rep for Region Six and AFC regional executive member, Harbhajan, explained during an interview with this publication that in 2015 when the meeting was held with party executives and members, a few persons were chosen to be on the list from Region Six, including himself.
He said he only learnt recently that the official list that was submitted to GECOM by party executives, omitted his name.
“I only learnt that my name was not on the list only when Barbara Pilgrim was appointed as Member of Parliament and when I do glance at the real list that they have with GECOM, it was a shock to me then that myself and Crawford and Nalini Lall was not on that list.
The members of the region would have democratically picked at a big forum in region (RMC election),” Harbhajan disclosed. He questioned whether “things are done democratically” if the senior members of the party choose who they desire and ultimately disregards a selection process inclusive of all members of the AFC.
He explained that every region was asked to come up with a list of names to be presented to AFC executive body.
“Every region has a Regional Management Committee (AFC-RMC), where members meet and decide on who to choose.”
Harbhajan stated that he and others were given statutory declaration bio-data forms to fill out when their names were selected and were at that time, under the impression that his name among others would be on the official list presented to GECOM.
He surmised that the AFC has been making the news for all the wrong reasons in the Region and as such “we as AFC need to regroup, put systems in place and focus on the people and respect people choices.
“Which goes back to the list that I saw. It comes as a shock when you see these new names popping up and they were not the ones initially chosen to be on the list.”
He opined that if the major players in the party will make their own choices then “what is the need to have members in every region submit a list of names for options. How is that being democratic?”
His statements came at a time when Donna Mathoo, NCN Berbice branch manager, is tipped to fill a Member of Parliament position in the national assembly although he, Harbhajan, led the National Geographic List when it was submitted to the AFC head office in 2015. Mathoo was second on that list. He said if Mathoo is indeed selected to fill the spot it will be a decision that he respects but not agreed with.
“I may not agree with it and some other things this party has done but I support their decision. I felt that especially a region like this, you need to look at a parliamentarian who engages the public at the bottom level, who can communicate and connect with people, not so much academically. That would be great for this government.
“There are other people within the AFC from other region’s they could have picked and I believe she could have been more moulded dealing with the public and I don’t think she has not had enough exposure to fill that spot”, Harbhajan stressed.
He added that it came as a surprise to him when he saw the report that Mathoo was considered.
When asked if he believes that he was overlooked for such an important position, Harbhajan said “Honestly, I have been overlooked for plenty of things but I don’t allow that to get to me because my objective as a politician when I joined the AFC, was to make a change and that is why I joined in 2005.”
Harbhajan is known for interacting with the public on the ground and assisting Berbicians who turn up at his office on a daily basis, from crime to agricultural issues.
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