Communities Ministry backtracks on transfer of Region 10 engineer

-after RDC protests

After a protest from the Region 10 Regional Democratic Council (RDC), the Ministry of Communities has decided not to proceed with the planned transfer of engineer Clive Peters.

Peters was to be transferred to Region One based on a decision made in May to rotate the regional engineers. However, the decision was met with opposition from the RDC, which objected on the basis that Peters was the only engineer in the region. It had also noted that four staff members who had been on administrative leave for over a year to facilitate an investigation had severely strained the region’s capacity to fulfill its work programme and argued that transferring Peters would compound the situation.

Meanwhile, the region is still awaiting a meeting with Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan so that its three governing bodies: the RDC, Linden Town Council and Kwakwani Neighbourhood Demo-cratic Council) can engage with him on issues of concern.

At the heart of the issue is that the council has no power to hire, discipline or fire staff. That power will rest with the Local Government Commission (LGC) if and when it is established. In the absence of the LGC, the power rests within the Ministry of Communities and is most often exercised through its Permanent Secretary (PS) Emile McGarrell.

Regional Chairman Renis Morian had indicated that numerous correspondences to McGarrell yielded no satisfactory response to the staffing issues highlighted and it was therefore suggested that Bulkan be invited to engage with the three governing bodies.

Stabroek News reached out to Minister Bulkan about the issue and was told that while the Ministry is attempting to help the region understand the need for the rotation principle so that the engineers will be allowed to rotate among the regions, it has so far acquiesced to the region’s request that Peters not be transferred at this time.  Communication received from the minister’s office indicated that while the minister has received the region’s invitation to meet with them and indicated that he will visit, he is “giving them time” to read the recently released Councillors’ handbook before he sets a date for the visit.  The handbooks, which were recently launched, provide a detailed description of the duties and responsibilities of the various local government organs and councillors who make decisions at that level. It also includes and references all legislation which guides the action of these bodies.

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