Home News 7 REOs relieved of duties, Local Govt Ministry expresses “no confidence”
The Local Government and Regional Development Ministry has informed seven Regional Executive Officers (REOs) that their services are no longer required.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry would have dispatched their termination letters on Tuesday.
The REOs are from Randolph Storm from Region One (Barima-Waini), Denis Jaikarran from Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), Jennifer Ferreira Dougal from Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara), Ovid Morrison from Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice), Kim Stephen-Williams from Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne), Carl Parker from Region Nine (Upper Takutu-Essequibo), and Orrin Gordon from Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
In a brief comment, Minister Nigel Dharamlall said “the Ministry lost confidence in their ability to perform. Their deportment was inimical to the effective and efficient functioning of the regions they managed. Moreover, they practiced heavy partisan politics…They were void of professionalism and impartiality.”
Parliamentary Affairs and Governance Minister Gail Teixeira had already made it clear that while the new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration will not engage in witch-hunting; it will seek to rid the public sector of political appointees whose services are no longer required.
Time and again, various regional chairpersons have complained over the unwillingness of the various REOs to cooperate in order to advance regional development.
In the case of Region One, Regional Chair Brentnol Ashley in July 2019 had explained that there is a holdup of crucial projects in the region, through no fault of the Regional Democratic Council, but rather, the REO.
In Region Two, the REO was charged for assaulting Regional Vice Chair Nandranie Coonjah. The REO, in 2019, had also reportedly taken away the vehicles belonging to the Regional Chair and Vice Chair, and had closed the door to the Vice Chair’s Office.
In Region Five, the RDC has not been able to properly meet in months due to constant disruptions by the REO who usually leads a walkout, forcing the meeting to be adjourned. The REO’s walkouts stemmed from an incident where Regional Chairman, Vickchand Ramphal had asked two controversial Councillors to leave the horseshoe table while their legality was being discussed. However, the Chairman’s request was met with pushback from the coalition Government’s Councillors. Morrison swore in three persons as Councillors unbeknown to the Chairman and the full Council. Ever since, there have been issues at every statutory meeting in relation to the legality of the Councillors which ultimately led to walkouts by Government Councillors and the REO.
The Region Six REO has had her fair share of controversies as well. In July 2018, she refused to write the then Minister of State Joseph Harmon on the wishes of the RDC. The RDC had passed a motion for Central Government to finance transportation of children whose parents were out of a job due to the closure of the sugar estates, but the REO refused to make the request.
Region Nine’s REO was, in 2017, charged with sexual assault.