Gov’t MP to seek advice after accused of interfering in birth certificate, pension book distribution

Richard Allen

Richard Allen, government parliamentarian for Region One (Barima-Waini), says he will be seeking advice from the Attorney General regarding a recent statement by Regional Chairman Brentnol Ashley, who has voiced concern over his reported involvement in the issuance of birth certificates and distribution of pension books in the region.

When contacted for a comment on the claims contained in Ashley’s statement, Allen called the accusations “malicious,” before noting that he will be seeking guidance from the Attorney General on how to respond.

Ashley, in a statement issued on Saturday, registered his concerns about what he said was Allen’s interference in the affairs and functions of several state agencies and elected bodies in the region.

“As the regional chairman of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Barima-Waini Region #1, I am extremely concerned with the active participation and involvement of APNU/AFC coalition geographic Member of Parliament Richard Allen in the affairs and functions of several state agencies and elected bodies in the Region. It must be noted that he is not employed in any of those agencies, nor elected to any, and therefore has no [locus] standi,” Ashley said in the statement.

Brentnol Ashley

The Chairman cited a recent report in the Guyana Chronicle, “Government tackles low birth registration in Region One,” which, according to him, reported in detail on Allen’s active involvement with a General Register Office (GRO) visiting team in the region, where birth certificates were issued.

He went on to say that while he commends the work of the GRO in reaching out to Region One with the objective of ensuring the people are registered, he is suspicious of the transparency and equality of treatment as a result of Allen’s alleged “embedding” in the team’s day-to-day operations and the process for the issuance of birth registration.

Ashley charged that he received reports of Allen’s personal involvement in the distribution of birth certificates in bulk to various communities.

He added that in the past the Toshaos and other community leaders have been the ones who have worked with the GRO team as they are knowledgeable of the eligibility of residents in their communities. He added that Allen’s alleged involvement in the registration and distribution process is “highly questionable and suspect,” while noting that the documents are crucial for the registration of voters given that local government polls are due this year.

Ashley also said representation was made at several statutory meetings of the RDC for Toshaos and other community leaders to be entrusted with uplifting and distributing pension books for aged persons from far flung areas or who are otherwise unable to travel long distances.

“When this recommendation was made by the RDC to the Ministry of Social Protection, I was informed that no individual that is not employed by the Ministry of Social Protection can uplift pension books to distribute, yet councilors of the RDC [have] seen and received many reports that MP Richard Allen is distributing pension books on behalf of Ministry of Social Protection,” he added

Ashley also alleged that Allen was able to access money originally warranted to the Matarkai Neighbourhood Democratic Council win order to host a Christmas party for senior citizens.

He said the majority of the RDC’s councillors are disturbed by and opposed to Allen’s apparent interference in the operation of state agencies in the region and called for an immediate halt to his “access and interference” in their activities in the region.

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