Residents of Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam) continue to raise their concerns over the non-delivery of essential services and supplies, due to the unsigned vouchers that are reportedly lingering on the Regional Executive Officer (REO) Rupert Hopkinson’s desk.
This was disclosed on Tuesday at the recent Regional Democratic Council (RDC) meeting that was held for the month of March. According to Region Two Chairman Devanand Ramdatt, numerous contractors and trench cleaners have complained of not being paid for works completed and supplies delivered.
Region 2 REO Rupert Hopkinson
Ramdatt told his fellow Councillors at the statutory meeting that a contractor related to him that he could not send his child to school since he was facing financial difficulties. The contractor further stated that he is owed huge sums of money by the Region Two administration. Ramdatt stated that the contractor is owed for works done since 2015.
“I have learnt that there is a new system where the voucher go to the accounts department then return to the REO’s office and unfortunately, there is an individual at the REO’s office who is requesting a toll to pass the vouchers,” Ramdatt said.
The Chairman further related that persons need their money in order to sustain their families, as well as to stimulate the region’s struggling economy.
Responding to those claims, Deputy Regional Executive Officer (DREO) Sunil Singh who filled in as clerk for REO Hopkinson in his absence at the RDC meeting, said the accounts department is very efficient but the vouchers are being held up at the office of the REO.
He confirmed that indeed piles of vouchers are lying on the REO’s desk awaiting his signature. Singh however said he is unable to confirm if contractors have to pay a “bribe” to get their voucher signed.
These allegations were received by the Regional Chairman who in turn informed REO Hopkinson.
The Chairman further informed the Council that presently, there is a shortage of materials from the building department, adding that if the vouchers are not signed in a more timely manner, this could slow the pace in the procurement system.
“When vouchers are piled up, it means that essential materials will not be supplied, like chalks to the schools, medical supplies to the hospital, vegetables to the dormitory, these suppliers won’t be able to supply these items if they are not paid and the working class are affected,” Ramdatt argued.
Another People’s Progressive Party/Civic Councillor Showkat Ali stated that contractors are also owed from his Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC). Ali who is the Chairman for Good Hope-Pomona NDC said the piling up of vouchers seems to be a new trend and it must stop as persons need to be paid for works executed.
Coalition Councillor Naithram was also concerned over the non-payment of contractors, particularly the trench cleaners.