Granger says PPP Regional Chairmen snub him; Rohee denies it’s orchestrated

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 March 2016, 15:24 by Denis Chabrol

Guyana’s President David Granger says the Chairmen of People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-controlled Regional Councils are disrespecting him by failing to turn up on his visits to those regions.

“It’s worse than eye-pass. These people are dividing the country, they are trying to destroy the country and when you go to vote (in Local Government Elections) on Friday, think unity, think bringing the country together,” he told a public meeting by the governing A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) at the Linden Bus Park on Monday night.

However, PPP General Secretary, Clement Rohee says the decision by the regional chairmen not to be present was not centrally directed by the party.

Granger accused the PPPC of stoking division because the Chairmen of Regions 1 (Barima-Waini), 2 (Pomeroon-Supenaam), 6 (East Berbice-Corentyne) and 9 (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo). “How can we unite this country, how can we bring central government together with the regional government together with local government if the Regional Chairmen don’t show up when the President of this country shows up,” he said.

Rohee said the PPP has not taken any decision that the chairmen of PPP-controlled regions should blank the President on his visits. “No we haven’t made such a policy. That’s for them to decide based on whether they receive invitations or not,” he said. Asked what steps should be taken if the Regional Chairmen were invited but did not attend, the PPPC General Secretary ruled out any penalties. “Nothing should obtain, that’s their decision. We wouldn’t discipline them or sanction them. They know the local conditions better than us so it’s left to their judgment,” Rohee told Demerara Waves Online News.

Recently, the Regional Executive Officer of Region Two, Rupert Hopkinson stated that the Region Two Chairman has not been cooperating in decision-making. On the other hand, an opposition PPPC parliamentarian had complained bitterly that the Regional Executive Officers in certain PPPC regions have been acting unilaterally and excluding the councilors.

The bickering over control and influence of regions after the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections is not similar to allegations by the Alliance For Change (AFC) that Region 8 (Potaro-Siparuni), which it had controlled, had been starved of funds and made to endure deplorable roads and other substandard living conditions.

The then PPPC-appointed Regional Executive Officer had been accused of acting in a unilateral and high-handed manner against the will of the elected council.