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AFC wants APNU Region Four Chairman, Vice Chairman removed

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 August 2021, 21:16 by Denis Chabrol

Samuel Sandy and Daniel Seeram.

The Alliance For Change’s (AFC) Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) councillors want the Chairman and Vice Chairman removed from office over claims of poor performance that has led to a loss of jobs and non-payment of persons.

“This action was in direct response to the continued failures and shortcomings in the management of the affairs of the people in this key geographical region,” the party said.

The no-confidence motions against Regional Chairman Daniel Seeram and Vice Chairman Samuel Sandy did not go far on Thursday because, according to the AFC, were not read by the acting Chairman because the Chairman was not served with a copy and they do not conform to the stipulated timeline.

Mr. Seeram could not be reached for comment.

The AFC said formal notices of no-confidence were filed on August 18, 2021 with the Regional Executive Officer (REO) Donald Gajraj, but given the reasons by the acting Chairman the defects would be remedied at the next statutory meeting of the council.

The AFC denied that it has engineered the no-confidence motions with any other political party. “The Alliance For Change Region 4 councillors have also taken note of recent public statements on this issue and wish to state that no discussion with any other political party on these motions has taken place,” the AFC said. Back in 2018, then AFC member Charrandass Persaud had voted in favour of a People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC)-sponsored no-confidence motion that had virtually crippled the David Granger-led administration until elections last year March.

People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Executive Member, Ganesh Mahipaul earlier this week said on Facebook that,  “there is no Charrandass in the PNCR and it affected a few but the truth is the truth. In my view, there are selfish forces that believe Daniel should be collateral damage in their quest for whatever but experience is always the best teacher.”

Nearly one year after A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Councillors was elected to run the affairs of Region Four, several issues persist that are causing poor management of the region’s affairs.  The AFC said its councillors have highlighted several grave concerns including the suspension of the Regional Administration of Committees meetings,  “without any word to councillors” and the sidelining of the AFC.

The AFC has publicly complained about “alienation and exclusion of the AFC and its representatives” by the Region Four Chairman who also chairs several “key” committees including those on tourism and drainage and irrigation that had never met.  “This action deviates from the historical norm of sharing these positions with other Councillors and the spirit of partnership which is fundamental to the APNU+AFC coalition,” the AFC said. The Chairman is currently the sole representative on the Sea Defence Board of the Ministry of Public Works, the National Drainage & Irrigation Authority (NDIA), the  Board of the Ministry of Agriculture and the COVID-19 Task Force of the Office of the Prime Minister.   This is not the first time that APNU and AFC have been in a public spat over sharing of responsibilities, the last having been almost one year ago when AFC was outwitted for the expected post of Vice Chairman for Region Four.

The Personnel and Human Resources Committee has also not met for more than eight months and that, said the AFC, has been to detriment of employees. “Most worrisome is the fact that this has resulted in employment malpractices perpetrated by the PPP within the Council. Among other issues, this has resulted in 14 health care workers’ contracts not been renewed and two nurses not being paid for several months,” the party said.

The AFC said several contractors have not been paid for close to six months due to the failure of the Vice Chair who heads the works committee to convene meetings and sign off requests in a timely manner.  “This has resulted in their hard-working employees not being paid during these difficult times, caused by the PPP COVID related policies,” the AFC added.