Region 5 Chairman frustrated over non-support by Govt Councillors

first_imgRegion Five (Mahaica-Berbice) Chairman Vickchand Ramphal has expressed concerns that he is currently unable to effectively address issues affecting farmers in that Region because he is not getting the support of coalition Councillors and the Clerk of the House.The Chairman made the comments at Thursday’s Regional Democratic Council (RDC) meeting after the Regional Executive Officer (REO) Ovid Morrison walkedRegional Chairman Vickchand Ramphalout of the meeting. Morrison controls the $2.5 billion of taxpayers’ money given to the Region.According to Ramphal, residents across the Region are being affected by many issues which are not being addressed.He explained that Mahaicony farmers were having difficulties in accessing fresh water for their crop, but no assistance is forthcoming.“If coalition Councillors were interested, they would have sat around the table, so that they could make solid decisions to bring relief to the farmers that are affected in Region Five,” Ramphal said. He noted that not only those Mahaicony farmers were being affected, but recently he met some farmers from the Paradise-Belladrum area, who complained that canals in the Rising Sun/Washington/Belladrum area are clogged preventing them from getting fresh water for their crops.“We could have brought solutions to those problems, but since the man that controls the money in the Region – the Clerk, who is the Regional Executive Officer blatantly walked out of the meeting, we cannot make any sound decision for our people,” the Chairman said.Ramphal has been forced to engage some of the other agencies, which operate within the Region namely the Mahaica Mahaicony Abary (MMA) department and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), which have both been providing some assistance.However, these agencies do not have adequate resources to undertake work across the Region, he added, while singling out the NDIA’s efforts in the Region to bring relief to farmers who are affected by poor irrigation. The REO has been walking out of all the RDC meetings since February last year. In January 2016, led by Carol Joseph, who was then a councillor, the coalition disrupted every meeting by either singly or banding as one to bang on the tables thus prevented any discussion, demanding that Ramphal apologise to President David Granger for not attending a meeting in the Region at which the President was a guest. Ramphal had not received an official invitation to that meeting, which was held in December 2015. In August 2016, when the President attended an Emancipation Day programme, he announced that he did not want an apology and urged that RDC meetings be held undisrupted. Again in May 2017, the Government Councillors walked out after Morrison demanded an apology from the Chairman saying that his creditability was at stake when Ramphal called for an investigation into allegations that two Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) officials had used a NDIA machine to carry out personal work.When the December meeting was called four days before Christmas in 2017, the coalition Councillors said that they were going to give the residents of Region Five a New Year’s present by sitting to discuss their issues at the monthly meetings.Subsequently, Morrison returned to the boardroom with the coalition Councillors and convened a meeting during which certain decisions were made.The coalition since March 2018 has been trying to get the RDC to adopt the minutes for an “illegal” meeting of the Council.Since then when the meetings are called monthly, coalition members say they should be looking at the minutes for the February 2018 meeting and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Councillors say they should be looking at the minutes for the January 2018 meeting.The impasse continues.“They are using their bullish tactics and being disrespectful by coming back here and reconvene an illegal meeting. We will not support such behaviour,” the chairman told his colleagues.He added that the February 2018 minutes needed to come back to the Council for all of the Councillors to go through. “Let us ratify and confirm and we will proceed. Why would they illegally call a meeting and expect the Regional Chairman to assent to the minutes that they would have confirmed? That will never happen. This is a democratically constituted body,” the Chairman maintained. (Andrew Carmichael)last_img

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