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…assures he is in good health and ready to serve Region Eight
By Lisa Hamilton
The Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) Regional Democratic Council is yet to be sworn-in and Jimmy James, the lone Liberty and Justice Party (LJP) representative among an equal division of the APNU+AFC and the PPP/C, believes that the holdup is as a result of the “balance of power” he holds on the Council.
All other RDCs have been sworn-in and have selected their Regional chairs and vi e chairs. In November, the Region Eight Councillors were asked to travel to Georgetown for their swearing-in ceremony but this was cancelled at the last moment due to the “emergencies” of two Councillors. However, months have since passed and the ceremony has not taken place. The latest claim, reportedly made by LJP representative, John Flores to the Stabroek News, was that James is ill and was no longer interested in the position.
Speaking with the Village Voice News on Wednesday, James said that nothing is further from the truth. “Page 10 of Sunday Stabroek is saying that I am saying that I am sick and I cannot do the work which is a bundle of nonsense as far as I’m concerned…I don’t know who put the report out in Stabroek. I saw my picture there along with John Flores, the manager of LJP saying a bunch of nonsense about me. Look, if you come up here and see the work I’m doing and where I’m living [I’m going] up and down the mountain every day. I’m active, I’m ready,” he said adamantly.
Furthermore, the Sunday Stabroek News report stated that Flores has submitted new names to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) after James “indicated that he no longer wished to represent it on the council due to health concerns”. The newspaper published that Flores was doing so on James’ request.
Again, James told the Village Voice News that the comments of Flores are false. “I would like to make this very clear, there is nobody who can take my name off of GECOM’s list. I’m a Candidate, it’s gazette and it’s only me [who] can go there and say that I do not want it, nobody [else]. So, all this propaganda that they’re talking is a bunch of nonsense,” he said.
Questioned whether Leader of the LJP, Lenox Shuman – also Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly — has contacted him about the matter, James responded in the negative. He said that last contact he had with Shuman was when he [James] visited Georgetown to be sworn-in with the other Councilors.
James thinks that it is strange that the Concillors were asked to travel all the way to Georgetown to be sworn-in. What he does believe is that some form of a political struggle for power is ongoing and he has been stuck in the middle of it. He has plans to support the APNU+AFC at the RDC since the political party has garnered the most votes in Region but, according to reports, this has not been well digested by the PPP/C or the LJP.
“I am hearing a lot of things. As you know, I hold the balance of power and the PPP wants to have the Chairmanship, they want to hold the Chairmanship and APNU is saying – the Councilors here are saying – they want the Region and they have a right to nominate who they want as their Chairman. They [APNU] said that at the last time when the PPP won the Region they had both the Chairman and the Vice, so it’s their turn now to nominate who they want. I was nominated by them. I am willing. I’m not interested in politics, I’m interested in the welfare of the people,” James stressed.
He also finds it concerning that while the hold-up continues, the work of the RDC is piling up and Councillors are in the dark about the plans for development.
“At the moment, we don’t what is going on. The budget is being debated and I don’t know what is capital expenditure, I don’t know what is current expenditure. People here don’t know what’s going on. Projects were supposed to be done, we don’t know anything at the moment,” he said.
“The people decided they wanted Jimmy James there as a Councillor…I’m not interested in people’s politics, what I’m interested in is the people’s welfare and this is what I’m concerned about.”