The government yesterday denied that it had ignored local government in the planning of a controversial tower at the Plaisance Community Ground saying that the interim management body in the village deliberated on the matter at two separate statutory meetings and then gave approval.
This statement by the government is at odds with information that has emanated from persons close to the Interim Management Committee for Plaisance/Industry.
Stabroek News had been told that the committee members were informed by Overseer Kyron Williams, who is not from the community but was placed there last year during the period when the local government ministry shifted around overseers, that once the letter comes from the Office of the President there is nothing they can do.
“The overseer said that once the letter come from the Office of the President it can’t be stopped so it was not deliberated on by the committee. But we did not know that any work start until we see it in the papers,” the source said.
When contacted by Stabroek News two Sundays ago, Williams said she did not have “any comment to make at this time,” while Chairman of the IMC Seedath Persaud said he would not be commenting on the issue until he met with the other members of the committee.
The statement from the government responded to yesterday’s Stabroek News editorial which had referred to the controversy over the siting of the tower. The statement accused Stabroek News of “glaring misinformation” pointing out that the editorial stated that the tower was to be located in the middle of the ground whereas it was to be positioned in the north western corner of the ground just beside the pavilion.
In a comment, Stabroek News Editor-in-Chief Anand Persaud acknowledged that the editorial had erred in stating that the location was to be in the centre of the ground. He apologized for the error on behalf of the newspaper. Persaud added that the key points are that the tower was to be located on the ground and the residents of Plaisance have said that they are completely in the dark about it.
Persaud said that if it was indeed the case that the IMC had deliberated twice on the matter without letting the residents know it reflected a shocking dereliction of duty by a council that had been handpicked by the Ministry of Local Government.
Citing reportage on the Plaisance tower, the government statement said:
“The Government of Guyana has noted that the fanning of flames of discontent has become the hallmark of the political agenda of sections of the private media. Not satisfied with simply providing full coverage of opposition and seemingly anti-government activities, these media houses have taken it upon themselves to embellish their coverage with misinformation, innuendoes and downright lies with an aim to incite”.
The statement added:
“The Government is not unmindful of the Stabroek News’ comfort in affording full coverage opposition to elements in Plaisance who are instigating protest against this national project. While the Stabroek News has the freedom to dictate what it should report, what is objectionable is that in its editorial position, it simply parrots the views of the opposition.”
The government statement contended that the Neighbourhood Denocratic Council which was replaced by the IMC was “practically dysfunctional”. The government said that the new body comprises four public servants and several community leaders.
It further argued that community grounds across the country facilitate all manner of community, regional and central government activities.
“Some grounds house training centres, community libraries, sport associations, headquarters for Neighbourhood Democratic Councils, health facilities, day care centres, play schools, etc. In one instance, on the East Bank of Demerara, there is even an office of the People’s National Congress”, the statement said.
“The Government hopes that better sense will prevail and that the residents of Plaisance will join in this exciting national project which in time will benefit thousands of people throughout the country”, the statement posited.