Lack of RDC meetings may lead to financial irregularities – Chairman

Over the past six months, the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) has not

Regional Chairman,  Vickchand Ramphal
Regional Chairman,
Vickchand Ramphal

held its monthly statutory meetings and this has raised questions over the lack of transparency with regard to the entity’s financial operations.

This is according to Regional Chairman Vickchand Ramphal, who told Guyana Times that the “breaking up” of the RDC meetings could pave the way for “corruption” in Region Five.

On Friday, the Regional Chairman raised concerns over the way in which the region has been operating.

“Over the past six months, the Regional Democratic Council could not have held its statutory meeting because of Councillors from the APNU/AFC (A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change) breaking up the meeting. This has prevented the RDC from scrutinising the spending of the regional administration,” Ramphal noted.

He further stated that the lack of meetings is also affecting the degree to which there can be effective monitoring of projects that were awarded and he has made calls for the Regional Executive Officer (REO) to be clear on the region’s financial records.

“The Regional Executive Officer is not making available any financial record and spending of the region, also he is not making available on a timely basis Bill of Quantities for projects awarded by the region. This can pave way for corruption since the Council cannot scrutinise the spending of the [REO],” the Chairman expressed.

Ramphal also alluded that there was “favouritism with how contracts are awarded in Region Five.

“It is time that APNU/AFC Government intervenes to bring the situation to normalcy so monies that were allocated to the region can be effectively spent in benefiting the residents of Region Five,” he noted.

Over the past few months, the region has been experiencing intermittent periods of flooding and the Chairman had expressed that the disruption of the RDC meetings has hindered the ability of the Administration to provide services for flood-affected residents and farmers, especially in the Mahaicony areas.

At a recent meeting with residents and farmers, Ramphal stressed that since he continues to be prevented from presiding over the statutory meetings, the RDC cannot make decisions to alleviate the many problems facing the region, including the stalled work programmes and the extended period of flooding.

The issue that has led to the constant disruption of RDC meetings, stemmed from Councillors of the APNU/AFC demanding an apology from the Chairman, premised on claims that Ramphal disrespected President David Granger by not showing up for an event on January 15, where the President commissioned two buses under the Three ‘Bs’ initiative.

Ramphal has however argued that he was never invited to the event and as such there was no need to apologise.