A proposed visit by President Donald Ramotar to Mocomoco in Region 9 was denied by the village after residents were given just over a day’s notice.
“I want to make it clear I turned down the people on the ground, I never turned down the president…this is the president of our country and I respect that,” Toshao Mark George told Stabroek News last night during a phone interview.
He said “if the president is coming to my community I have to cater to them, how many people are coming, do I have to hire cooks do I have to pay them to cook…the village only has one tractor, how will I get firewood from the jungle. The preparation itself will take from three days.”
George stated that he received a call on Monday at 10 am from the People’s Progressive Party’s Rupununi representative, Desmond Kissoon saying that the president would be vising the village at 17:00hr on Tuesday. The Toshao said that was nowhere near enough time to coordinate a stately visit to the village.
He told Stabroek News that villagers would need to know how many persons to expect and plan for and that he did not want to be underprepared for a visit by the head of state.
He said that he made it known to the party representative that such a visit would take three days at least to plan “I told him things didn’t work like this, I need more time,” adding that the party representatives on the ground were not doing their jobs and had little regard for the village to call one day prior to a visit by the president.
George said that in January, a representative from A Partnership for National Unity had called him two weeks prior to a proposed visit on January 18, which was in keeping with a considerate timeline to organise and encourage people to attend.
He said that not only was the short notice inconsiderate but the same proposed Tuesday the village council was also to engage with representatives from the Protected Areas Commission.
In December, a teacher from Aishalton accused a Presidential guard of assault after publicly criticizing the current administration at a meeting at which Ramotar was present.
“After I was finished speaking one of the security came up to me in the crowd and give some slaps telling me I disrespected the president and he would take me down,” John Adams told Stabroek News after the incident.
This incident has raised concerns in some communities about the need for respect to be shown to them.