The Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Two and Mayor of the Anna Regina Town Council (ARTC) have met and agreed to put their differences aside for the sake of development of the municipality.
Sunday Stabroek was told that a meeting was convened last Thursday by the Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt and both the REO Rupert Hopkinson and the Mayor Rabindranauth Mohan were in attendance.
Mohan yesterday confirmed that he had met with the REO and said he is prepared to work with him on the ongoing project in front of the Department of Education at Cotton Field—to which it had objected—as well as future projects, once there is proper consultation.
“I told him that I have no issue with developing the area or doing beautification projects. My problem is the how you go about doing it. We have a municipality development plan done by Cabinet and in collaboration with the Council… we have that plan and whatever is being done has to fit into that plan. Like I said, I have no problem with him wanting to do these things but you can’t just go block up these trenches, and there isn’t no alternative for the drainage of the water,” he said.
The Mayor further noted that though the REO admitted that he was wrong in certain aspects, he argued that this is how things were done in the past and that this is the manner of operation he met when he took office.
Mohan stated that he reminded the REO that such projects require prior consultation and as such, he claims the REO not only expressed regret for how things were handled but also promised to consult on future projects.
“I am prepared to work along these lines…We are hoping for the best and hope that he means everything he said,” he added.
This newspaper understands that it was also agreed that the REO will meet with the ARTC and that details of the project at the centre of the dispute will be shared with the council.
Prior to last Thursday’s meeting, the REO had been reprimanded by Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan over his decision to order the filling of a main drainage channel in front of the Department of Education at Cotton Field, without seeking permission or even consulting with the council, which had criticised him.
Additionally, the REO also faced criticism after he was seen on a video lambasting a councillor who had questioned him about his authority to proceed with the project.
In a subsequent letter to Hopkinson, Bulkan asked the REO to consider apologising to the council for his actions.
As a result, a special council meeting was planned two Thursdays ago and Hopkinson was invited. The aim of the meeting, as explained by Mohan, was to not only allow the REO to give his apology, but also for them to discuss the issue of the filled drainage channel.
However, Hopkinson took some more heat last week for not attending the planned meeting and for not giving a reason for his absence.
At that time, the Mayor noted that the REO’s decision not to attend the meeting was a clear example of his disregard and disrespect for the ARTC.