Many sluices are clogged, several Secondary and Primary schools are without resources, drainage pumps need maintenance, vouchers are still to be processed, and lack of competent staff in various areas are some of the major challenges affecting the Region 2 Administration and pushing major development works back.
At the May Regional Democratic Council (RDC) meeting, councillors from both the Government and Opposition sides debated the poor performance of the Regional Executive Officer (CEO) Rupert Hopkinson.
The RDC expressed dissatisfaction that the REO has sidelined the Accounts Department by having an inexperienced accounts clerk in the office of his confidential secretary to examine vouchers, thus creating delays in processing of vouchers.
Taking the floor first was Alliance For Change (AFC) councillor Naithram, who said the REO is missing too many RDC meetings and little or no follow-ups are being done to address issues raised at the council level. According to Naithram, the Region’s economy and development are being pushed back due to the “incompetence” of REO Hopkinson.
“The REO keep absenting, he has the money purse for the Region, most of the projects and issues cannot be addressed because of him lacking knowledge on the area where he operates” Naithram surmised.
He further said the REO has no proper knowledge on the Region since he was not around for approximately 25 years. Naithram reflected that recently he reported an issue at Lima Sands and as he was venturing to the community with the REO, Hopkinson asked where they were going. Naithram then questioned how can someone whose lack of knowledge about a particular area that he operates run the Region. “We need a better person to be in the REO place here” Naithram argued.
Chairman Davenand Ramdatt noted that several important issues that were forwarded to the REO are still to be addressed. Ramdatt cited the REO’s lack of knowledge and experience of Public Procurement, Budgeting and Financial Management as major hurdles affecting schools, hospitals, (including Suddie Public Hospital) and other health facilities. He also cited that coastal and hinterland ares are also affected. The RDC Chairman highlighted that several schools (Nursery, Primary and Secondary) washrooms are in urgent need of repairs. Maintenance of computers for CSEC students are also on hold.
At that point PPP/C councillor Beatrice Mittleholzer said what the REO is doing is very unfair and it is affecting the livelihood of persons. She said it is “very disgusting” to hear that someone who was put in a position to represent his people is not doing so. She concluded her argument by requesting for a new REO.
Another PPP/C councillor Showkat Ali also explained that Region 2 is “a star Region compared to other Regions” and if the trend continues then the region will be left behind. Ali said the RDC needs to take stern actions against the REO for his “incompetence”.
PPP/C councillors Nandranie Coonjah and Arnold Adams also noted that there is poor drainage and irrigation within the region and lack of maintenance works.
Effective maintenance of kokers (sluices), trenches, drainage and irrigation structures are also affected due to the REO’s lethargic actions, and this has resulted in challenges to residents and farmers in this rainy season, the councillors reiterated.
Ramdatt said he will be writing the Minister of Communities on the REO’s poor performance on key development matters, and further explained that the REO has been absent too many times from the RDC.
The RDC is of the strong view that the public servant must be competent to serve in the best interest of all the people and will not condone poor administration.