The implementation of decisions by Region One’s Regional Dem-ocratic Council (RDC) is being stymied by the Regional Executive Officer, Leslie Wilburg, who continues to be absent from Statutory meetings.
This is according to Regional Chairman Brentnol Ashley, who claims that of an estimated 19 statutory meetings held between 2015 and 2018, the REO has attended a meagre five, a pattern that has limited the work of the RDC.
“Our concern is that since 2015, the REO would not have been attending our meetings, he would have attended three or four out of nineteen sittings and because of this over 95-97% of the decisions made by the RDC have not yet been implemented,” the Chairman said.
“He is out of the region more than he is in the region and when he is in the region, he only works four hours which is unacceptable,” Ashley added.
Wilburg, when contacted on Saturday afternoon, indicated that he had no comment to make regarding the Regional Chairman’s claims.
Meanwhile, Ashley says the Council finds the situation extremely frustrating, particularly since the already absent REO continues to make excuses for not implementing council’s decisions.
“We are of the view that his actions are deliberate to stymie the authority of the council and the decisions made by the council… We are even more concerned because we are in the tenth month and have not even reached 50% of our capital expenditure. We still have a large amount of allocated sums to be implemented or executed but nothing is being done,” the Chairman lamented.
Ashley further contended that with the REO’s continued absence, the sitting of the RDC is a waste of taxpayers’ money, as he said, “If he is not present then it makes no sense to waste taxpayers’ money to sit and deliberate when the person who is supposed to be implementing and guiding is absent.”
Stabroek News understands that Wilburg recently renewed his contract to serve as REO and while the Regional Chairman says the RDC does not have any objections to his contract being renewed, the council would be more appreciative if he carries out his duties as is expected. Wilburg was one of several regional accounting officers who were scrutinized by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in recent times for being unprepared for the hearings.
Reports by this newspaper would indicate that in February 2017, Wilburg was expelled from the parliamentary chamber during a sitting of the PAC on the basis that he had provided false information on $30 million worth of overpayments, for which he could face disciplinary action.
Wilburg, in a comment to Stabroek News after his expulsion, stated that what transpired had been an “unfortunate oversight” and “not a deliberate attempt to mislead.” He said he was informed afterward of the facts of the matter, while noting that the information was there in the file jacket.