APNU Region Three councillor was asked to apologise after failing to substantiate allegation

Dear Editor,
Kindly permit me to respond to an article captioned `Opposition councilors give `disrespectful’ Region Three Chairman silent treatment’ published in the Kaieteur News’s April 4, 2013 edition.

The article states that “A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) member, Kathlene Armstrong, was last month denied privilege to speak at meetings when she reportedly spoke to the chairman about his dismissive attitude towards opposition members.” Editor, allow me to clarify that statement, Councillor Armstrong raised issues about me being disrespectful to fellow councillors and she had been asked to cite the instances but refused.

After she refused I had asked her to issue an apology for her derogatory statements but she further refused hence a motion was moved to debar her from speaking until she apologised for her behaviour.  A vote was then taken in which 12 People’s Progressive Party councillors voted in favour against eight opposition councillors.

After the motion I subsequently held a meeting in the Boardroom of my office with the Opposition Member of Parliament, John Adams, and he had asked Ms. Armstrong to apologise but she stated she preferred to resign rather than apologise. To date she has not apologised hence she was debarred and remains debarred from speaking at any meetings.

The article went on to say that opposition councillors’ concerns are not addressed but very often when they raise issues within the Region it is usually referred to the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) or the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) deals with it based on funds remaining after the RDC would have completed its work programme.

In most of the cases raised, the opposition councillors are not giving specific information on the issues presented. Other issues that were raised were related to the Sub-Committees that are a part of the RDC hence opposition members were advised to discuss it at that level where decisions will be taken and then presented at RDC meetings.

One example where councillors are misrepresenting the facts is at Aliki where the region built a ramp to accommodate residents but one Alliance For Change (AFC) Councillor Harry Narine Deokinandan reported that there was no ramp.

On many instances APNU and AFC councillors would stand up and make presentations that are not factual and when advised they continue to speak without allowing the me to make my presentation. I would have to resort to reminding them of the protocols of the meeting which states under Act 12 of 80 “that whenever the Chairman of the RDC stands up to make a presentation every other councillor ought to sit and make way for the chairman’s presentations.”

The opposition councillors are very rude and disrespectful at the meetings and being the Chairman I will not tolerate any councillor disrupting my meetings.

Also allow me to address the part of the article which states that opposition councillors are not aware of the Region’s business. I would just state that all opposition councillors are on the Sub-Committees and they are equally involved in the Region’s business.

In conclusion I would just say that the performance of the region for the year 2012 was 99.5 per cent and not poor as mentioned by the opposition in the article.

Yours faithfully,
Julius Faerber
Chairman, Region Three

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