NDC officials did not understand their function

Dear Editor,

What is the function of a Neighbourhood Democratic Council? We should have an elected body which is given the administrative power to deal with the resolution of problems within the communities to which they are assigned. Their responsibilities primarily have to do with the construction of homes, whereby they approve plans, and investigate infractions, amongst other duties. They are expected to deal with those who have been reported for disregarding the right and proper manner of proceeding, and do so in a subtle and civil manner that would avoid conflict in the wake of a resolution.

Well, Editor, that is what is expected by definition, but not what is usually the outcome. One case which members of an NDC bungled has to do with two neighbours in the new housing scheme in Schoon Ord, West Bank Demerara, where they took the side of the offending party and intensified the conflict to a high level, and as a result the infraction was not dealt with.

Everyone building a home is aware that the NDC approves building plans only when the building is ten or more feet from a neighbouring fence. In this case one neighbour extended an enclosure all the way to the fence, so that water coming off his roof when it rains falls directly into the other yard. And so the NDC was summoned. Unfortunately the two employees given the task quickly showed they were unaware of the basic framework of their function. To begin with, they were unfamiliar with the house lots in the neighbourhood for which they were responsible and could not find the given location. So the complainant was forced to go and search for them. They had no transportation and used a taxi. The house owner found them, joined the cab they used, and took them to his house. Immediately upon arrival he was shocked when they insisted that he should pay the cab’s fare. He refused, telling them it was in no way his responsibility to get them around at their work. And that was where their attitude towards him soured. Forthwith they became dictatorial; they contended that a down pipe in his yard contributed to his problem. He countered that he had dug a drain which was in plain sight to drain the water from his down pipe. They would not deal with the infraction of the neighbour which they were called out to investigate and resolve. No doubt this misdirection of theirs perplexed the home owner and he told them so, to which they responded with: “We are done.” And left.

If that is the behaviour to be expected from the NDC, we need them not in our affairs. The people placed in responsible positions should know they are public servants, and must treat the citizenry with respect.

Yours faithfully,
Jorge Bowenforbes

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