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Region Ten Regional Democratic Council Chairman, Mr. Deron Adams has accused the Regional Executive Officer of violating the laws of Guyana and refusing to implement the decisions of the elected Regional Democratic Council and serve the people of Region #10.
Appearing Thursday at the Leader of the Opposition press conference, Regional Chairman, Mr. Deron Adams presented a detailed overview of the situation in support of the accusation, as he called for an end to the sad state of affairs.
According to Adams the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government does not believe in local democracy. “They utilise and facilitate the Region #10 Regional Executive Officer (REO) violating the laws of Guyana and refusing to implement the decisions of the elected Regional Democratic Council and serve the people of Region #10.”
The full text follows: –
The PPP government does not believe in local democracy. They utilize and facilitate the Region #10 Regional Executive Officer (REO) violating the laws of Guyana and refusing to implement the decisions of the elected Regional Democratic Council and serve the people of Region #10. We condemn this approach and call on the errant Minister of Regional Development and the REO to bring an end to this sad state of affair.
As the elected representatives of the people, you are aware that eighteen (18) of us were elected to lead the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region #10, Upper Demerara/Berbice.
We agree with Mr. Vincent Alexander, a former Regional Executive Officer, who is eminently qualified in local government that:
Regional Democratic Councils are statutory bodies or legal bodies made up of the Council proper and an administrative arm, established in keeping with the provisions of Article 72 of the Constitution and enabled by the Local Democratic Organs Act (LDOA), which specifically states: “local democratic organ shall be a body corporate by the name prescribed for it by its constitution order.”
In the execution of its functions, the Council has an Administration which is responsible to the Council for the execution of its lawful decisions, in the manner that the council so resolves.
While we are very proud of the sterling work carried out by most of our staff, in challenging circumstances, some seem bent on serving partisan political interests and stymying the work of this Council by playing politics with our people’s welfare. This is compounded by the stark reality that this government refuses to address their safety, health and basic humanity by refusing to complete the new office building which we initiated since the one we presently occupy is derelict, dangerous and a public health disaster waiting to happen.
We have adopted an approach of keeping our residents abreast of all of the actions taken by the PPP to demonstrate that they are using our tax dollars to dominate and oppress our people. Their recent decision taken to foil our well worked out and agreed to plans for the 2023 Mash celebrations is the latest manifestation of PPP attempts to dominate and control Region #10.
In this statement, we wish to be clear on four points:
- The Regional Democratic Council of Region #10 is the highest decision-making forum in Region 10, and all of the officers of its Administrative arm, including the Regional Executive Officer, are obligated by law to implement the lawful instructions of the Council.
- The RDC will continue to call out and condemn the use of the RDC staff to carry out PPP political work while on duty as an untenable and unacceptable development that must be sanctioned and brought to an end.
- The Regional Executive Officer must publicly and definitively acknowledge his accountability to the Regional Democratic Council of Region #10. The Ministry of Local Government is also compelled to respect the laws of Guyana. Unfortunately, they are in violation of the law, and while we cannot compel the Ministry of Local Government to do so as well, I would think that it is in the interest of proper governance that they join in buttressing this position so that the REO could properly discharge his functions in keeping with the law.
- The RDC will continue to engage any organization, Ministry, company or individual who will partner with us to achieve beneficial developmental growth for Region #10 and our constituents.
Even though the government vindictively increased Region #10 budget only by eighty thousand dollars ($80,000), while increasing PPP controlled regions by millions, our Council voted to instruct the Administration NOT to go to Georgetown to celebrate Mashramani, but to reserve our tax dollars to ensure that we can fund Mash celebrations in Linden. In direct contravention to this lawful instruction, the Deputy Regional Executive Officer (DREO) took a contingent to Georgetown for Mashramani. We were then told that they intended to wash these rain soaked and already worn costumes and issue them to revelers in Linden, along with some others left over from 2022. This is disrespectful to the people of Region #10 and a blatant disregard of the decision of the RDC.
You might wonder how the DREO came to disregard a legitimate decision of the elected Council at its February Statutory Meeting. This is but one more instance where officers of the RDC are instructed to disregard the Council and respond to instruction from elsewhere, often acting as staff of the Ministry of Local Government or some other Ministry rather than as staff of the RDC-Region #10.
It should be noted that our Council wrote the President himself to point out that some of his Ministers refuse to respond to correspondence from the Council, unfortunately, even the President failed to acknowledge receipt of our correspondence. This attitude has apparently permeated the public service and made its way down the ranks to our administrative personnel.
In an example of how comfortable our public servants have become in violating the laws of Guyana by overstepping their roles, the Regional Executive Officer Dwight John had been bold enough to approach the Council through me to arrange that the Mayor of Linden and the Member of Parliament be excluded from speaking roles at the 2022 and 2023 Flag Raising ceremonies. This we could not oblige.
How this falls within his remit we cannot understand, and the justifiable rebuffing of his attempts to censor these two public officials was met with a stance of ignoring the lawful instructions given to him by the Council.
The Council was already braced for this, since our decision to host Flag Raising at Ituni and Kwakwani in 2022 was met with the same with-holding of payments, etc. by the Regional Executive Officer. We therefore sought to protect this approach by ensuring that these decisions were resolved at the highest decision-making forum at our disposal, the statutory meetings of Council.
However, the Regional Executive Officer (REO) wrote to the Regional Chairman indicating that he would not be present the next day at the March statutory meeting of the Council because he had been called to a meeting at the Office of the President. He also delivered a letter on Thursday March 2nd, 2023 to the Office of the Regional Chairman before he left for Georgetown, part of which said:
“As such as the Accounting Officer, I am required to comply with the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act where the monies appropriated by the National Assembly under 801 Regional Administration and Finance- Chart of Accounts 6291 – National and Other Events are insufficient to execute the Linden Regional Mashramani celebration 2023. Currently, I would not be responsible of any unauthorized expenditures since it would be in contradiction with prudent financial management and my accounting responsibilities.”
Simply put, the REO heads the Regional Procurement and Tender Administration and after spending out our constituents’ tax money on Mashramani in Georgetown against the direct instructions of the RDC; he now disrespectfully says there is no money left for Mash in Linden. This is an affront to the people of Region #10.
He also said clearly he will NOT be responsible for any payments for Mash in Linden, which he refers to as “unauthorized expenditures”. It should be noted that it is the REO who is in violation of the law.
The Council had written to, met and agreed with the Commander of the Guyana Police Force Division 10 for members of the public to be able to parade for Mashramani on Sunday March 5th, 2023 from the Five Corner Junction to the Bayroc Community Centre Parking Lot. At this location, which is well drained, and has wide open spaces convenient to the hosting of this activity would have permitted numerous vendors who usually set up tents and vending carts to take advantage of this opportunity to earn an income in this region in which unemployment is above the national average. The government sought to impose a decision that these activities be held at Christianburg ground. This was rejected since Bayroc offered the opportunity that would have been lost at Christianburg, and because of the hasty set up only certain sympathizers of the PPP would have gotten the opportunity to earn.
Just two weeks before, the Regional Education Department held the Children’s Costume Competition at Christianburg, and was forced to abandon the second day due in no small measure to the swampy condition of the ground. This call for a change of route for the Mashramani Parade in Linden was therefore a truly spurious and divisive measure that was aimed at sabotaging Linden Mashramani 2023. Indeed, the state media happily carried TWO separate advertisements publicizing two different destinations for the Mash parade therefore substantiating the view that the intention was to sabotage Linden Mashramani celebrations.
On the day of the parade, we observed what has become an established pattern of behavior, where employees of the RDC Region #10 are used to do political work on duty and to create mischief, when an officer of the administration was seen twice trying to change the flow of the parade on the Mackenzie shore, before becoming involved in a direct confrontation with myself, the Vice Chairman and several Members of Parliament while attempting to divert one of our trucks to the bogus Mash destination. Having been prevented from achieving the PPP nefarious objective, the officer then drove away with all of the meals for the revelers, leaving us to scramble to secure something for these persons to eat and drink after representing the RDC in the lone Mash band.
We say the lone Mash band not tritely, but to point out that no Ministry of the Government sought to participate in Mashramani in Linden, the birthplace of the festival, choosing to instead send Lindeners to participate in the Berbice Mashramani activities. This is discriminatory and unacceptable.
The confusion created over the destination for Mash in Linden also ensured that corporate entities chose to stand down. However, this 9th Council of the Regional Democratic Council of Region #10 has pledged that even if it is only like-minded Lindeners and the Council who participate, Mashramani in Linden will live on.
We are left to close out our Mashramani 2023 celebrations at Kwakwani this weekend with the Mash Parade on March 12th. We will pay keen attention to the REO’s stance on providing resources for the execution of this event, in keeping with the resolution of the RDC Region #10 at its February statutory meeting.