Former APNU parliamentarian Renis Morian was elected unopposed as the new Chairman of the Region Ten Democratic Council yesterday.
While the swearing in of the region’s new councillors was being conducted inside the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Boardroom, just under a dozen placard-bearing demonstrators protested the non-reinstatement of Sharma Solomon as Regional Chairman. The protestors were under the surveillance of a senior police officer and about three other subordinate ranks in uniform.
Solomon, who had been considered a rising star in the PNCR—the main constituent of APNU—has appeared to be sidelined after very vocal criticisms of the manner in which the party conducted its internal elections last year. He, however, later campaigned for the APNU+AFC coalition at the recent polls.
Solomon was absent at the installation of the new council yesterday and his former Deputy Chairman Byron Lewis voiced his disappointment at the development.
The current council comprises 15 representatives from the APNU+AFC Alliance and three from the PPP/C.
In the election for the Vice Chairman post, Elroy Adolph defeated fellow Kwakwani resident, Mavis Lewis, who is the wife of Byron Lewis. Adolph defeated Lewis by 10 votes to 7, with one abstention.
Adolph is one of four councillors re-elected from the previous RDC. The others are Charles Sampson, Franklyn Carew and Stanley Collins, a veteran WPA activist, who will be serving his fourth term on the Region Ten RDC.
There was some measure of controversy during the nomination process to elect the Chairman and Vice Chairman. Sampson informed the meeting that the session had started with a mistake. He stated that when persons are nominated and a motion is moved to have nominations closed and that motion is seconded, that motion is put to the floor for the members to agree or disagree. Stressing that the procedure should be followed even with one person nominated to be elected, Sampson said that after Morian had been nominated for the post of Chairman, “I moved a motion for nominations to be closed. It is a motion and once a motion is moved, it has to be put to the floor for the floor to agree or disagree.”
Contending that the returning officer, Yolande Hilliman, had failed to follow the procedure, Sampson said the mistake had already been made but he felt that it was the general consensus of the eighteen councillors that nominations be closed.
Hilliman, in the capacity of returning officer, then said: “All in favour that the previous motion for nominations to be closed just say aye or raise your hands.” The majority of councillors said aye.
After Hilliman announced that voting was about to begin for the Regional Vice Chairman, Sampson moved a motion that the vote be done by secret ballot. After it was seconded, the motion was put to the floor and carried.
Hilliman announced that “the ayes have it” but Sampson then said, “You just can’t say the ayes have it. You have to take a count, including those, who abstained. The REO then asked the councillors to raise their hands. Eventually, staff members of the Region Ten administration circulated slips of papers to the eighteen councillors for them to vote for the candidate of their choice to be the Vice-Chairman.
Following the election, Morian and Adolph were installed in their respective seats at the head table, from where they gave brief addresses.
The standing orders of the council were also suspended to allow for persons outside of the council to utter brief remarks. Current Region Ten Members of Parliament Valerie Sharpe-Patterson and Audwin Rutherford along with former Vice Chairman Lewis and Walt Glasgow, District Development Officer and businessman, made brief remarks.
Apart from the new Regional Chairman and Vice Chairman, the other sixteen councillors who took the oath of office yesterday were: Sandra Adams, Elymawell Barkoye, Denise Belgrave, Gordon Callender, Stanley Collins, Owen Desouza, Douglas Gittens, Vladimir Glasgow, Lawrence Hacket, Tracey Johnson, Mavis Lewis, Franklyn Carew, and Charles Sampson, all of the APNU+AFC; and Dexter Harding, Gregory Harris and Serojnie Naraine, of the PPP/C.