RDC Coun­cil­lors walk out of meet­ing

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ab­sence of Re­gional Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer (REO) Ru­pert Hop­kin­son at the statu­tory meet­ing of the Re­gional Demo­cratic Coun­cil (RDC) of Re­gion Two yes­ter­day, led to a walk­out by Coun­cil­lors of the Peo­ple’s Pro­gres­sive Party Civic (PPP/C).

Mid­way into the meet­ing, dis­cus­sions into a mat­ter arose and it was soon dis­cov­ered that the is­sue t hat needed t o be dealt with by the REO was still un­re­solved.

APNU+ AFC Coun­cil­lor Jul­lian Cum­mings raised the is­sue about the non-pay­ment of Com­mu­nity In­fra­struc­ture Im­prove­ment Pro­gramme work­ers where he said that trench clean­ers are still owed for com­mu­nity ser­vice works done on the road shoul­ders and within the com­mu­nity of Char­ity.

“I am dis­ap­pointed since t hese work­ers are owed since 2016, and pay­ments were not pro­cessed by the Re­gion’s REO. I am call­ing for some­thing to be done about this is­sue and it must be done soon,” Coun­cil­lor Cum­mings said. Naith Ram, an­other APNU+AFC Coun­cil­lor, also noted his dis­sat­is­fac­tion with re­gards to the is­sue.

“I am dis­sat­is­fied that to date these work­ers’ pay­ments were not pro­cessed and the thing is, their fam­i­lies’ liveli­hood are be­ing af­fected. These work­ers have their fam­ily to pro­vide for and chil­dren to send to school. Sev­eral other mat­ters raised at pre­vi­ous RDC meet­ings still con­tinue to linger due to the REO’s ab­sence. This needs to be looked into,” Ram added.

Deputy Re­gional Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, Roop­ku­mar Per­saud who stood in place of the clerk for the RDC, in the ab­sence of Hop­kin­son, said he has no knowl­edge about the pay­ments due for the Com­mu­nity In­fra­struc­ture Im­prove­ment Pro­gramme work­ers.

Re­gion Two Chair­man De­vanand Ram­datt, in ad- dress­ing the coun­cil­lors noted that he too is dis­sat­is­fied with the ab­sence of the REO, since many is­sues raised at the RDC level are still left unan­swered and un­ac­counted for.

“I can­not un­der­stand why the REO is not at­tend­ing the meet­ing al­though it is statu­tory and no ex­cuses are given to the house for his ab­sence. This is a to­tal dis­re­spect to the Re­gion Two RDC, the REO who is the clerk of the RDC should be present here at all times. On many oc­ca­sions of the RDC meet­ings, he has been ab­sent with no ex­cuse, and as a re­sult t here are no mean­ing­ful fol­low up to key devel­op­ment i ssues within the Re­gion. Now is the time for the RDC to take a firm stand on the lethar­gic lead­er­ship of Ru­pert Hop­kin­son,” Ram­datt said.

Af­ter this dec­la­ra­tion, all the Coun­cil­lors from the PPP/C walked out from the meet­ing. Coun­cil­lors of the APNU+AFC then left. This is the sec­ond con­sec- utive meet­ing missed by the REO, prior to which, he was on an­nual leave.

Sev­eral of the is­sues still to be re­solved at the level of the RDC which have not been ad­dressed to date due to the REO’s ab­sence, in­clude de­layed pay­ments for con­trac­tors, slow im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Cap­i­tal and Cur­rent Bud­get for 2017, non-pay­ment of funds for the Amerindian Her­itage Cel­e­bra­tions, lack of pay­ment to RDC Coun­cil­lor of Wakapoa, Lloyd Per­reira, poor con­di­tions of dams lead­ing to cul­ti­va­tion areas, lack of fog­ging ma­chines in the re­gion, poor con­di­tions of com­mu­nity grounds, the non-func­tion­ing gen­er­a­tor at the Sud­die Hos­pi­tal, con­stant blam­ing of pro­gramme heads for REO neg­li­gence and other is­sues.

The date for the next meet­ing was n o t a n - nounced, but the meet­ings are usu­ally held on t he sec­ond Tues­day of each month.

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