Polarised Region 5 RDC hopes to improve relations in 2022

Councillors on both sides of the political divide in Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice) have expressed hope that they can work together to improve the lives of citizens in the Region.

Councillor Emerson Benjamin

The Region Five Regional Democratic Council (RDC) has been politically polarised over the past six years, with major problems existing between the APNU/AFC and PPP/C councillors. However, as the year ends, both sides are looking forward to unity in the New Year.
Lead Councillor for the Coalition, Emerson Benjamin, says he wants to see Region Five being developed, while Regional Chairman Vickchand Ramphal says he is looking for more participation from the Coalition at the RDC next year.
According to Benjamin, the year 2021 was a challenging one at the RDC as it relates to projects being executed.
“However, come 2022, I would like for us to work closer so that we can better build out Region,” he said in an invited comment.
Ramphal said he is looking for much more participation from the Opposition side, and more meaningful contributions during the RDC meetings.
“Also, I am looking forward to their full participation in all committees, to ensure that we scrutinise properly whatever we are doing in the Region. I do acknowledge that the Opposition side is very important in bringing balance to the house, and I want to work with every one of this Region to ensure that we have maximum development,” Ramphal said.
In January of this year, the Regional Chairman had expressed his disappointment that Coalition councillors had not been participating in any of the regional sub-committees.

Region Five Chairman Vickchand Ramphal

“They are invited whenever there are committee meetings. None of them would have attended any of the committee meetings, and this is depriving the constituencies that they represent, especially those that are in areas that are being represented by the APNU/AFC. If they do not make proper representation, then the problems that are affecting those people will not be resolved in an early manner, and so I am very disappointed in the manner in which the APNU/AFC Councillors are conducting their business in the RDC here,” Ramphal had said in an invited comment in January 2021.
Nevertheless, Benjamin says it is the same thing the Coalition wants, but there will have to be some changes in order for that to be achieved. He noted that as the Coalition sees it, the challenges in 2021 came about as a result of the way in which the Regional Chairman presided over the RDC.
“I don’t want to use the word segregation, but you could have seen it. I hope that that part can be overcome by him and the Chair; not the PPP side Councillors, I am referring to the Chair. If we can get over that, it will be good for us come 2022,” he added.
Responding to those allegations, the Regional Chairman said he was not aware, and it was never brought to him at Council meetings.
“I do believe that I have been very receptive of the Opposition side. I have been impartial in my meetings, ensuring that all members are given a fair opportunity to speak and to raise issues and concerns that affect the people of this Region,” he responded.
The Regional Chairman repeatedly told the media that he was disappointed with the non-participation of members of the Opposition, who according to him have not been making meaningful contributions to the RDC. (G4)