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…says IMC was only present to conduct audit
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall has said the elected Community Development Councils (CDCs) of Dagg Point, Region Seven, will be allowed to be sworn in now that an audit of the previous Council’s work has been completed.
Michael Singh has been elected as Dagg Point’s CDC Chair. Last week, residents of both Dagg Point and Agatash — two indigenous villages in Bartica — protested that they were being prevented from electing their own leaders.
The residents held op placards alerting the public that there is an attempt by the current Administration to “impose” Interim Management Committees (IMCs) on their villages.
However, in an article published by the Department of Public Information (DPI), Minster Dharamlall, during an outreach to the community on Monday, told residents the audit was conducted by an IMC to ensure accountability.
“Every council that replaces another would want to know what they are inheriting and so that is why we had to put systems in place. So, the interim Council was here just to make sure that during this phase, until the audit is complete and the new council sworn in, that the village is on level ground,” he said.
The villages of Dagg Point and Agatash are currently managed by their CDCs which are organised within Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) to effectively represent residents’ concerns.
The residents said that when the recent change took place there were secret meetings being held and chosen community leaders were being shut out of these. “We do not need an Interim Management Committee. Swear-in or newly elected body”, one of the placards that residents held up said.
During his visit to the Dagg Point, the Local Government and Regional Development Minister said that the new Council should now engage the Regional Executive Officer (REO), Kerwin Ward, to select a date and time for the swearing in.
However, the DPI noted that several Councillors have stepped down from their positions on the basis that the Amerindian Act 2006 prohibits anyone who has not resided in an Amerindian community for at least three years from taking a leadership position.
The Minister urged the new council to establish a register of the villagers to ensure similar incidences do not recur. He also charged the new council to be accountable and transparent in their management of the community.
“We do not take mismanagement of resources very lightly and so you will be held accountable for the resources that come into this village. If any of you is found culpable for mismanagement then you will be prosecuted,” he said.
Aside from this, the Minister came bearing gifts of food hampers to several residents. He again pledged to provide solar streetlights to the community as well as construct their main access road.