NDC Chairmen call out REO for disparaging remarks

first_img“Several roads cannot be fixed, community grounds slashed and drains cleaned because of one person: the REO, Ovid Morrison.” This is according Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) Chairman Khrisna Sewlall, who was responding to statements made by Regional Executive Officer of Region 5, Ovid Morrison, that officials in Region 5 (Mahaica/Berbice) have been stymieing development there.Bath-Woodley Park NDCChairman Khrisna SewlallAccording to Morrison, some NDC leaders are deliberately withholding reporting on issues in some communities, and that is usually due to their political bias, and because they are putting politics ahead of their own community development. He, however, said the problem is fortunately not widespread.However, his disparaging remarks about the NDC heads did not sit well with several of those chairmen, and they have called out the REO for accusing regional officials of putting politics before development.Following the accusations, which were made public on Monday, two NDC Chairman have responded by saying that this same REO has been stifling development in their NDCs.Rosignol-Zee Lust NDCChairman Ramnauth PooranChairman of the Bath/Woodley Park NDC, Khrisna Sewlall, told this publication that officials from the NDC have to make an appointment before they are able to discuss issues with the REO in order to get projects going, and he is often unavailable to speak with them.According to Sewlall they were recently told that they have to wait six weeks before the REO can fit them in on his schedule.Similar sentiments were shared by Chairman of the Rosignol/Zee Lust NDC, Ramnauth Pooran, who told this publication that the NDC is waiting on the REO to sign vouchers for their 2018 work programme.According to Sewlall, the NDC’s major concern is that it cannot get to execute projects on a timely basis. “After having approved these projects at the statutory meeting of the Bath/Woodley Park NDC, cheques are written and vouchers are prepared to purchase materials, but the vouchers would have to be endorsed by the Local Government Department of the Regional Democratic Council, especially the REO,” he said.He explained that, in some instances, it would take weeks for that to be done.“I have to make an appointment to see the REO in order to get these vouchers approved. This is one of the reasons why our projects are being delayed. One of the reasons, one of the concerns, is that after having submitted our proposed work programme for 2019, specifically for work done with the subvention, we have to wait for long periods.”Sewlall said the major project the NDC had had in its 2019 budget was to rehabilitate Saga Street at Bath Settlement.“Now we are in the month of August, and that street is in a deplorable state and we haven’t got any feedback from the engineering department nor the Local Government Department. We are frustrated,” he said.The NDC chairman also referred to President David Granger’s claims of empowering the local arms of Government.“Right now we feel that there is no need for an NDC, because the REO does what he wants to do with our Council. Our projects are at a standstill… This is frustrating. If we want to purchase material to repair a bridge, we have to take the quotation to the REO, and he will choose whoever he wants to purchase from, then we will prepare the vouchers; and we have to take it back again to him before cheques can be written. Democracy at the RDC is frustrating.”According to this NDC chairman, in excess of $6 million is sitting in the NDCs bank account after residents would have struggled to pay their taxes. However, the NDCs hands are tied and it cannot provide the needed development to those residents. The chairman blames the REO for this state of affairs.According to the Chairman, six weeks have passed and the NDC has not been able to meet with the REO for him to look at some vouchers which were prepared by the NDC in order for projects to be executed.Meanwhile, a correspondence from the Ministry of Communities to the NDC in the month of May indicated that $2.5 million was approved for the NDC to carry out its work programme, but according to Sewlall, the NDC is yet to receive the money.last_img read more