Region Nine REO faces ‘no confidence’ motion over alleged interference in Parishara elections

Members of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) in Region Nine are expected to debate a motion for a vote of no confidence in the Regional Executive Officer (REO) Claire Singh over her alleged “interference” in village elections at the community of Parishara.

The motion was moved last week by APNU Councillor Carl Parker and was seconded by Vincent Henry, at the bi-monthly meeting of the council.

According to reports, the motion was moved following the holding of village council elections at Parishara/Haiwa and Nappi villages, which are governed by one village council. Individually the villages voted for Senior Councillors to represent their respective communities while a Toshao and a Deputy Toshao were also elected to represent the affairs of the communities. Guy Fredericks was elected Toshao.

However, residents at Parishara had objected last month when the names of two persons, one John Alfred and Lionel John were struck off of the nomination list.

John’s name was subsequently reinstated to the list while Alfred was excluded since the Amerindian Affairs Ministry, through the regional administration in Region Nine, had deemed him ineligible to be on the list.

According to a source in the region, a new nomination process was undertaken prior to the elections and Singh travelled to the community with a team of officials to oversee the new process. The source said that residents were clearly against the process, since mainly PPP/C supporters participated in “the one-sided affair.” Persons were nevertheless nominated for positions on the council.

Singh was unavailable yesterday for comment and persons at the regional administration office at Lethem related that the office had received complaints from villages across the region regarding their respective elections. Those concerns are being addressed by the Amerindian Affairs Ministry and the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development.

Last month, residents of Parishara had accused officials of the regional administration of manipulating the voters’ list for village elections. John, who was nominated for the position of Toshao, and Alfred, who was nominated as a councillor, were not on the official list of voters. The absence of their names from the list meant that they could not vote nor could anyone vote for them. The elections for the village located in Central Rupununi were postponed earlier in March. However, the reason for the postponement was not clear.

Two Region Nine residents with knowledge of the issue expressed concern at the development. They said that villagers had been complaining of being victimised. According to the residents, villages are being told that if they vote for opposition members, they will not receive assistance. The PPP/C received the most votes in the region at last year’s general elections.

Amerindian villages across Guyana last month held elections to select new village councils. Village council elections are held every three years. Persons at several other Amerindian communities in the hinterland had voiced concern over the process and accused the government  of interfering in the preparatory process  of the communities elections.

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