Georgetown, GINA, May 18, 2013
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Ganga Persaud has urged the staff of the Region Eight council and administration to put aside festering issues, and to instead resolve to work together to bring about greater deliverance of Government’s services and programmes to the residents.
While in the region on May 16 and 17, Minister Persaud, in the company of the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Collin Croal hosted a meeting with the Region Eight Chairman, Council and the heads of departments of the respective works programme in the RDC boardroom.
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Ganga Persaud in discussion with the Region Eight Council and Administration in the RDC boardroom, Region Eight
Such a meeting together with the council and administration is a first for Minister Persaud, as he explained that he has always sought to avoid having cross issues between councils and administrations being dealt with in an open environment.
“But when I look at what has been happening between the RDC and Regional Administration in Region Eight, I thought that it would be better to have a collective discourse on some of the issues that are of concern to all of the persons who are seated here, in this gathering,” Minister Persaud said.
He told the officials that it is unfortunate that they have allowed petty issues to worsen, and to impact on the deliverance of services and programmes to the residents.
“We have had some issues and these issues seem to be festering, while you bring solution to them, there are politicians who are not in the region per se, but who receive information from their colleagues in the region and seem to be taking some issues beyond the realm of fact, and it is hurting the RDC, it is hurting the regional administration, and it is creating problems for the people in the region.’
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Ganga Persaud in the company of the ministry’s Permanent Secretary Collin Croal and Regional Executive Officer (REO) Ronald Harsawack, engage the heads of the regional works programme
He also pointed out some issues that the council and administration should be together seeking to address for the interest of the people including the issue of the Mahdia Power and Light collecting revenues to the tune of $5.9M but having an actual expenditure of $9.4M, a situation that has resulted in the board reducing electricity supply from 24 hours to 18 hours. There are also residents’ calls for youth development initiatives and sport facilities.
The problem between the council and the administration stems from the former discontent with the Regional Executive Officer Ronald Harsawack. On the basis of non-cooperation and the impeding development of the region, the council had on July 10, 2012, moved a no-confidence motion against the REO.
On analysis of the issue, however, it was found by the ministry that the concerns identified as the basis for the No Confidence Motion were inconsistent with the mandate of the Council.
It was also pointed out to the Council whilst the RDC in itself can express dissatisfaction with the performance of any employee, they need to support their discontent with evidence based on documentation, so that the administration in itself and the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development can seek to intervene, investigate and make a determination.
During his visit to the region, the Minister also met separately with the administration as part of the continuation of its policy of reaching out to the programme heads.