… says no receipts presented after monies collected
Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Councillor, Dexter Harding, said he is suspicious of the actions of Deputy Director of the Community Development Councils (CDC) and fellow Councillor Sandra Adams, after she allegedly failed to issue receipts a year after collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars from various CDCs in the Region, including the Coomacka CDC.
Harding, who also serves as Chairman of the Coomacka CDC, said that recently residents have been enquiring from him what was done with the monies collected, which were expected to be used to execute drainage contracts, as well as for the construction of an office for Adams. To date, he noted, no receipts have been issued.
“In Coomacka, we have benefitted from two drainage contracts and from that money, $100,000 for each contract has been deducted by Ms Adams’ office. To date, no receipt or supporting document has been given to the CDC to cover this deduction. At a meeting last year with all the CDC heads of Linden, Ms Adams stated that she needed a contribution from each CDC – from each drainage contract – for the building of an office for her, under her Deputy Director of CDC portfolio. To date, we have not seen the commencement of any construction of the office,” he noted.
Harding, during the most recent statutory meeting of the Regional Democratic Council, brought this and other issues to the fore, as he asked Regional Chairman Renis Morian to assist in getting some clarity on these issues. The Regional Chairman then asked Adams to respond, who then said that she would seek advice from the National Director of CDC’s in Georgetown, as it relates to the issuing of receipts.
Harding further stressed that in 2016, officials from the CDC went to the Three Friends area to host elections, during which the majority of votes fell in favour of the people. Nevertheless, he said appointments were made, much to the dissatisfaction of the community, which then called for a voting process to be conducted.
“It so happened that it was squashed. Two months after, the same officials went back, they formed a group. They called the people in the community, formed a steering committee and they made a promise to the community, saying if in three months’ time it’s not functioning, they will come and have an election, and up to today, no election. Meanwhile, the community is not benefitting from contracts like the drainage work,” Harding was quoted as saying in an interview with the Guyana Times newspaper.
He had also voiced his concerns during the statutory meeting. He told the Council that the will of the people must be respected in a democratic society and that he believes in consultative democracy. Harding recently told this publication that while Adams had visited the community to install a new CDC, it seems she was not pleased with the results and had deemed the election “null and void”.
“In relation to the Yaribo/Three Friends issue, Adams had indicated to the Council that after the election, residents became loud and out of order, therefore she called off the election,” he said.
Harding has, however, alleged that Adams is “selecting” persons to hold CDC positions.
Adams denies allegations
Meanwhile, when contacted, Deputy Director of the CDC, Councillor Sandra Adams, said the monies which were collected were “donations”, to which members of the CDCs, including Harding, had agreed to during a meeting, to go towards the construction of an office to conduct CDC executive meetings. Presently, she said there is no place to conduct such meetings, and as such they are conducted at the People’s National Congress Reform’s Party office, which is not the ideal place.
The initiative, she said, was also supported by her Director and they are presently awaiting the completion of the document for the land before commencing construction of the office.
“I don’t know anything about receipts; it’s a donation from all the CDCs… If they tell themselves that I am taking it and put it in my pocket, I am sorry. The Directorate of CDC is aware of everything…,” she stated.
Adams further denied influencing the appointment of members of the CDC. According to her, it is Harding who has a problem with one of the persons on the committee. “I have not selected anybody. The people in the community, because of the confusion and they can’t seem to cooperate with each other, submitted names… The names that were put up for the Interim were done so by members of the community… It has nothing to do with any friendship or anything,” she said.
As it relates to not returning to the community for the process, Adams said she has a lot of work to do.
“I am not a robot. I have many other things to do. So if three months pass and I ain’t return, it doesn’t say that I have to do it right away… I am dealing with a hundred and ninety-something CDCs across the country, not just Three Friends,” she said.
She added that Harding should have come in to her office and explained the issues, noting that she is tired of the issue which appears to have a political air.
“I think people should try to cooperate more for development, instead of trying to be petty. I am tired of them and their crap. They want to make everything like it’s a political issue.”