Region 5 RDC meeting disrupted again

For the sixth consecutive month, the Region Five Regional Democratic Council (RDC) has been unable to sit because of uncouth disruptions to its monthly statutory meetings by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Regional Councillors. On Thursday, the APNU/AFC Councillors led by Carol Fraser again prevented the chairman from presiding over the meeting.

Joseph maintains that Regional Vickchand Ramphal was disrespectful to President David Granger and as a result will not be allowed to preside over the meeting.

Despite calls by the chairman for Joseph to stand if she had something to say, the councillor disregarded the utterances and continued to palaver.

Beneath her loud nuisance the chairman said she was being disrespectful to the entire council and the Region. The other APNU/AFC councillors then joined Joseph in banging the table.

Following that episode, Ramphal called for unity and cooperation. He said it was a time when they all needed to work together for the Region but his words were drowned out by the sounds of banging and singing.

The meeting was yet again adjourned.

Since the beginning of the year, the Regional Administration has been unable to hold its monthly statutory meetings because of disruptions by the APNU/AFC side.

They are contending that Ramphal disrespected President Granger by not attending an official function in the Region in January of this year.

Joseph says they are demanding an apology from the chairman before they allow him to chair any meeting of which they are a part of.

She had said earlier: “We are out here because the council has been suspended, because we feel that the Chairman of this Region [who] took the oath of office to serve all the people of this Region, disrespected His Excellence President David Granger when he visited January 15, to commission two buses for the Region and as such we cannot respect him as the Chairman of this Region until he apologises publically to his Excellency.”

Ramphal told reporters that he did not attend the function because he was not invited to it. In noting that the welcoming of the President was done by an APNU councillor, Ramphal said it should have been done by him. Further to that, he emphasised that he did not receive a formal invitation to the commissioning which was held in the compound of the RDC that houses his office: “I was given a programme the day before and no invitation.”

However Abel Seetaram, an APNU/AFC councillor had told the media that the chairman was invited. He said Joseph met with Ramphal and discussed the agenda and the reason for the President’s visit. “The chairman is claiming that all he was given is an agenda of the event. I don’t know where you are given a menu and they would not invite you for a meal. Why will they give you that menu; you ought to know about the event or the get-together,” said Seetaram.

Seetaram said the current administration has never planned an event in that Region without informing the Regional Administration.

According to Ramphal, at the RDC level, they have acknowledged the donation of the two school buses and appreciate it as it aims at assisting school children from several communities. He says the non-attendance of the Regional Chairman is in no way meant to be disrespectful to the people of Region Five or the President. “I want to believe that proper communication was not done on the ground by the people who are responsible for doing so,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, despite heavy and persistent flooding in the Region, the council has not been able to sit as a body and discuss a way forward. (Andrew Carmichael)