In twist, GGMC Chairman faces no-confidence vote

A no-confidence motion is to be moved against Chairman of the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Board, Clinton Williams when it meets this morning, sources say.

A source close to the board told Stabroek News that the move comes on the heels of GGMC Commissioner Rickford Vieira being sent on leave after a no-confidence motion was moved against him by five members of the 13-member board, led by Williams.

The meeting was due to be held yesterday but was postponed to this morning.

Clinton Williams
Clinton Williams

Williams is facing the motion over alleged infractions that include the spending of nearly $5M dollars on meals and entertainment for himself over the last year, mostly at the 704 Sports Bar and Silhouette Restaurant in the city.

“It is unfair that the Board Chairman would even have the temerity to say no-confidence against anyone but himself because he has done nothing to help the commission but has still racked up so much in expenses in dining and merriment,” the source said.

“All I will say is that the move against Mister Vieira is personal and vindictive and has much to do with the fact that he put a damper on many of the invoices sent to him for approval for spending of the commission’s money by the said board,” another source said.

This newspaper was told that other members of the board are peeved at Williams for the role he led in seeking over $3B in funds from the autonomous agency to be transferred to the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) earlier this year.

The controversial bid by the then People’s Progressive Party (PPP/C) government was declared ultra vires and null and void by acting Chief Justice Ian Chang in May after a legal challenge was mounted by the WPA’s Desmond Trotman.

One source said that Vieira had objected to the sum being given to government and from then on relations between Williams and him took a turn for the worse.

“It goes deeper too but it would take a day for me to tell you everything… what we hope is that government, who has the ultimate decision in this, examines both sides of the coin because the facts are there. There are facts and there are allegations,” a source said.

Minister of Governance Raphael Trotman on Wednesday ordered Vieira to proceed on administrative leave with immediate effect.

Sources told Stabroek News that this was communicated to Vieira via a letter which he received when he turned up to work on the said morning.

Trotman has responsibility for the natural resources sector, under which the GGMC falls. Attempts to contact him were futile yesterday. Trotman has not been available to Stabroek News over the past several days and over the past two weeks he has declined to answer questions sent to him by this newspaper.

Stabroek News reported earlier this week that Vieira was among four senior GGMC officials who are facing dismissal and Chairman of the GGMC Board, Williams has said some decisions were being contemplated.

“There have been some inquiries that have been occurring within the commission… based upon those inquiries and the systems review, there has been some decisions that are being contemplated,” Williams had told Stabroek News.

He said that it is up to government to decide what will happen based on the outcome of the inquiries.

“There’s been one concerning morality, there’s been a systems review, there are a number of inquiries that were held and the government will have to make a decision on the way forward,” he had said.

Williams, when pressed, was tightlipped on any dismissals. “The government has asked us, the board, to look into these inquiries, to the reports that were made and that’s where it is,” he said, while adding that when or if anything happens a press release will be issued.

Sources say that the no-confidence motion against Vieira was moved in October, when only seven of the thirteen members of the board were present. The motion was passed by five of the seven members, including Lisaveta Ramotar, head of the Guyana Gold Board, Williams and Patrick Harding. It was noted that Vieira was not present at the meeting as he was away on vacation at the time.

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