May 23, 2013 By
May 23, 2013 By
Police in Moruca, Region One have launched a manhunt for a man who allegedly beat his father to death at their home, Barakawu, North West District (NWD) on Wednesday.
Sixty-six-year-old Gilbert Adams of Barakawu, NWD was discovered dead in his house with several stab wounds and other marks of violence about his body. Reports reaching this newspaper revealed that Adams and his son were seen at a wake house in the community on Monday evening.
Adams and his son whose name was given as Benny had an argument at the wake house and soon after they were seen leaving the premises. Upon reaching home, the argument continued during which his son picked up a piece of wood and started to hit his father about the body.
According to information, the man received severe injuries about his body and was left to die. He later returned and was reportedly attempting to bury his father’s body on a nearby plot of land to their house.
His plan was interrupted when a group of boys saw him committing the act. After the young men called out to him, he ran, raising suspicion among the young men. Upon checking, they saw the man’s motionless body.
The youngsters then reported the matter to the Moruca Police Station and the deceased’s body was taken to the Santa Rosa Hospital mortuary. The police are still investigating the matter.
May 23, 2013 By
– Ramotar makes plea for opposition to pass anti-money laundering bill
By Michael Younge
President Donald Ramotar has made a special appeal to the 10th tenth Parliament, particularly the opposition to “do all that is possible” to ensure that the proposed amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter the Financing of Terrorism Bill are passed into law before March 27 as the country will face serious international sanctions and blacklisting if the opposite occurs.
Ramotar’s unprecedented appeal came on Wednesday when lawmakers met to discuss several issues related to the business of the country, even though surprisingly, the amendments did not form part of the agenda for the 57th sitting of the National Assembly, despite its importance.
“I am calling on the parliamentary political parties and their representatives in the special select committee on the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Amendment Bill to do all that is possible to complete the review of this bill and return it to the House expeditiously,” he insisted.
Calling on the parliamentarians to demonstrate unity, zeal and a rebirth of the patriotic sentiments, the president said Guyana’s destiny was in their hands, especially as one contemplates the impact that the non-approval of the legislation will have on Guyana’s economy, ranging from small businesses and consumers to national institutions and large scale enterprises.
Time is ripe
He said the time is ripe again for compromise and the need for politicians to act maturely, demonstrating their ability to rise to the occasion as was done in other developing countries that faced similar consequences with the passage of the amendments.
“It may be important to consider that many other countries in the Caricom region have also experienced challenges as small and developing countries in meeting the recommendations established by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force in the international cooperation review group in order to reduce structural and administrative deficiencies” in the current architecture of the legislation while meeting international protectionist financial standards.
He maintained that there was a need for re-engagement at the level of the special select parliamentary committee which was reviewing the proposed amendments to the bill. Discussions came to a halt after Opposition Leader David Granger withdrew his representatives from engagements at the commitment level after he felt slighted that the government withheld some information about the amendments from the opposition, despite advice which suggested the need for all stakeholders to have access to the information.
President Ramotar also urged that Parliament convenes a special meeting to exclusively address the second and third meeting of the bill with the view of completing work ahead of the review process which commences on April 26.
“I am calling on all Members of Parliament to do all that is possible to re -engage at the parliamentary special select committee to bring the bill back to the House on May 24, or the latest May 28…” Ramotar insisted.
“Guyana’s destiny is in your hands and I anticipate as Guyanese first and leaders of our political parties, we shall not be found wanting… I don’t expect that the support will limit the opposition’s right to criticise what it sees as deficiencies…” the head of state said. His letter was also read in the 65-seat legislature by leader of government business in the House, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, at the commencement of Wednesday’s sitting.
Return to talks
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader David Granger announced the APNU’s intentions to return to the discussions table at the level of the special parliamentary select committee to complete the review of the amendments proposed to the act.
Granger, speaking with journalists during the break, said while he was not satisfied with the president and government en bloc, he understood the importance of resuming engagements at the level of Parliament. He has put some of his logistical concerns aside. “We want to get ahead with the business before the select committee and that is what we are doing,” the opposition leader noted, warning nonetheless that the coalition will not be rushed into meeting any government deadline. He explained that the amendment bill will be brought before the National Assembly when the select committee completes its deliberations and said that there could lots of dangers in passing amendments unanimously and without review for the country despite the urgency of the issue at hand.
“We are prepared to give the people of Guyana a money laundering act they can live with… No matter how long it takes, the public will get a good act…,” he stressed.
Despite, President Ramotar’s unprecedented appeal, the Alliance For Change (AFC) continued its hardline position and did not signal any shifting in its posture or demands made at the onset of consideration of the amendments proposed by government.
May 23, 2013 By
Anti-money laundering bill
– Nandlall to make petition at Nicaragua plenary
By Michael Younge
Guyana’s attorney general, Anil Nandlall is expected to travel to Nicaragua to make a special appeal for an extension of the deadline by which the country must comply with international recommendations which have been proposed to the extant laws. This is in a bid to avoid economic and financial sanctions as well as blacklisting related to the legislature’s non-approval of the amendment to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Act.
This newspaper understands that Nandlall may end up leading Guyana’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) delegation, which will be making the nation’s case before the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force in Nicaragua from May 26, if the special select committee is unable to complete work on the amendment to the legislation. If the work of the committee is wrapped up in time, Nandlall could still be forced to make the trip in the event that the bill is defeated in the National Assembly.
Cabinet Secretary, Dr Roger Luncheon, speaking with the media earlier on Wednesday, said that he was disappointed by the collective attitude of the opposition political parties that continue their deliberate campaign of procrastination aimed at frustrating the passage of the bill and flexing their majoritarian muscles in the 65-seat legislature.
“I don’t see what other options exist for the attorney general, so I suspect, among the things he will be pressing for would be some extension, some delay, because it would be quite clear that he would not be taking to the meeting an assented copy of the bill,” Dr Luncheon explained.
He expressed disappointment over the progress made thus far at the level of the committee, describing it as “very slow”. He does not believe that the committee will be able to complete its work if the apparent lack of commitment of some opposition members continues.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds called for an adjournment of the planned business of the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon, to introduce and discuss in detail an urgent matter of public importance, but his request was disallowed by Deputy Speaker Deborah Backer, who was presiding over the House in the absence of Speaker Raphael Trotman.
Backer, who is a sitting parliamentarian for the A Partnership for National Unity, refused to entertain the formal request. She said that it did not meet the criteria to be deemed “of definite public importance” or “urgent” in nature, since the related issue has been in the public domain for a number of weeks and has been engaging the attention of a parliamentary committee.
However, the prime minister disagreed, saying the amendment to the act being faced with the opposition’s non-support despite the sanctions which loomed as the May 27 deadline nears was both “urgent” and “of definite public importance”.
Housing Minister Irfaan Ali sought to intervene after Backer gave her ruling, but was debarred from making any statements to give more potency to the government’s arguments in support of the amendments.
AG Nandlall said it was disappointing that the opposition could not consider the merits of the arguments as far as implications for Guyana were concerned if the amendment was not passed. Nandlall had tabled a series of proposed changes and recommendations made by the international financial task force as a single amendment to the principal act after a lengthy period of review and engagements with key stakeholders. The amendment was tabled and read for the first time on April 22, and were read for the second time on May 7. It was subsequently sent to a special select committee by the opposition for scrutiny.
He said from the onset, he informed the legislature of the importance of the bill, the need for its timely passage through the House, as well as the consequences for its non-approval.
Making a statement as a minister in the Parliament, Nandlall said the opposition insisted on sending the legislation to a select committee despite his argument about the precarious position in which Guyana would find itself were the deadline not met.
He informed Parliament that since then, only four meetings were convened to discuss the critical amendment on May 8, 13, 16, and 20 respectively, with the last ending prematurely after opposition members withdrew.
The AG revealed that despite government’s meeting all of the requests of the opposition at that parliamentary level, the APNU voted down its request for meetings to take place daily, given the urgency of the matter at hand. The opposition after working out the modalities and functions of the committee, requested that 1) notices be placed in all papers inviting members of the public to send it contributions in writing; 2) specific agencies be written to inviting submissions; 3) a list of all documents of the recommendations, reports, and correspondence with Guyana on this matter be made available; and 4) names of experts that government would have in the committee to assist the body among others.
“This single request of the government was rejected,” he said with dismay, as he chronicled other developments which took place in the interim.
Nandlall maintained that it was no surprise that Guyana was obligated to review and make legislative changes to its anti-money laundering laws with the aim of complying with international standards.
In government’s defence, he noted that all of the recommendations did not come at once, stating that 90 per cent of them translated into minor legislative changes.
Additionally, Nandlall, who is also Guyana’s legal affairs minister, reported on Wednesday that the country had expanded the supervisory regime, which would govern several sectors and bodies with respect to the anti-money laundering laws.
Nandlall named casinos, cooperatives and credit unions, friendly societies, dealers in previous metals and rare stones, money transfer agencies, trust companies, financial agencies, and cambios in listing sectors and entities, which fall under the expanded regime.
The AG warned that should Guyana find itself on a non-cooperative list, all Guyanese engaged in any business transaction that involves the movement of monies could be adversely affected as the transactions will be intensely scrutinised, thus creating significant delays in the financial and banking system, citing other instances in other jurisdictions and countries. He said this would be counterproductive for Guyanese trade, business and finances. He even said that Guyana could find itself being forced to report semi-annually at considerable costs to the committee in France.
May 23, 2013 By
By Svetlana Marshall
The opposition on Wednesday night passed a motion calling on President Donald Ramotar to establish a commission of inquiry to probe the incidence of human trafficking here. Government did not support the motion, which was moved by Opposition Leader David Granger.
“This motion is a motion about humanity, it’s a motion about the type of society we want to live in, it’s a motion about our children and it’s a motion about the future of our country,” the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) chairman said in his opening remarks as he sought to win the House’s approval.
Trafficking in persons must not be dealt with lightly, Granger lamented, noting, that it is a crime and can be classified as modern-day slavery. Those suffering at the hands of traffickers, the opposition leader pointed out, are young persons, in particular females. “It is also a crime against our children; it is a crime against the most important section of our society, that is our women, the persons who become our mothers and it is a crime which will shake the structure of our family if left uncheck.”
Although human trafficking is tagged as a crime around the world, unfortunately, Guyana is faced with a denial syndrome, he said. “There are some persons who like to say there is no problem; in fact, at one time members on the government side actually rejected the reports of the United States Department… but it doesn’t mean there is no trafficking because we denied it.”
Some persons dodge the issue or pretend that the victims of trafficking voluntarily entered the state of prostitution. Granger said the home affairs, human services, Amerindian affairs and natural resources ministries must step up to the challenge and aid in putting an end to this brutal act of modern day slavery.
“Today we must congratulate the non-governmental organisation, the women miners’ organisation for doing what the Ministry of Home Affairs didn’t do, for doing what the Ministry of Human Services didn’t do, for doing what the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs didn’t do, going into the camps… and rescuing girls from enforced slavery,” he noted.
He said there should be no attacking of the messenger but rather the attacking of the crime. He said, through the commission, the laws can be enforced effectively to give the desired results and simultaneously put systems in place to ensure that victims do not suffer in the end. “We can put an end to this atrocity.”
Alliance For Change Member Cathy Hughes gave APNU her party’s support in the coalition’s quest for the implementation of a commission of inquiry. “Today, none of us can deny the perceived increase in incidence in Guyana that we appear to be facing; we read it in the newspaper now often and definitely more and more cases are coming to light in our society.”
She said it is against that backdrop that the AFC believes that the entire House should lend its support to the motion.
“We acknowledge that the ministry and the government have a comprehensive programme in place… and it is important that nongovernmental organisations like the women’s organisation are working together and stepping up to the challenge, we commend them all.”
However, she lamented the need for greater action. “Trafficking in Persons has a clear social dimension, we cannot fail to recognise that poverty makes many vulnerable and with joblessness, trafficking in persons becomes an avenue for the recruitment especially of the young.”
Programmes to tackle
Human Services Minister Jenifer Webster, while admitting that trafficking in persons is an issue of concern in the country, said her ministry has instituted a number of programmes to tackle the issue, hence the commission is irrelevant.
“We all know trafficking in persons is a serious crime and imposes a threat to human dignity, rights, and development…our government, over the past years, has undertaken a number of initiatives in a sustained way in the fight to combat trafficking in person,” she noted.
The human services minister recalled that in April 2005 then President Bharrat Jagdeo assented to the Combating in Trafficking in Persons Act. She said the act was designed to establish an overarching framework for the strengthening of the national mechanism to address this issue. “It provided an interagency protocol, which sought to identify a number of agencies, which could be involved and it sought to enhance the capacity of law enforcement agencies to investigate, to prosecute, and to convict traffickers,” she stated in her presentation to the National Assembly.
Minister Webster further noted that Guyana is a signatory to the United Nations convention against transnational and organised crimes, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly. “It is known that trafficking in persons is one of the most serious transnational crimes committed… as a consequence, the government of Guyana is constrained to devise preventative programmes to support our victims, punish perpetrators as well as empower our citizens throughout our country through social prevention programmes.”
Debunking claims by the opposition leader, Minister Webster said the ministerial task force, which was set up in February 2007, establishes programmes aimed at tackling human trafficking and providing a safe haven for victims. It is headed by Homes Affairs Minister Clement Rohee and comprises representatives from the Human Services Ministry, the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Amerindian Affairs Ministry, Food For The Poor, Help and Shelter, and most recently the Natural Resources Ministry.
Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall said the PPP/C administration has taken a series of initiatives to prioritise its treatment of this matter, noting that the National Assembly for the first time in the country’s history passed legislation to outlaw trafficking in persons. Additionally, he pointed to the establishment of a Task Force which has the mandate to tackle the issue. “This administration’s position on the matter is beyond any dispute, our position is very clear, trafficking in persons is wrong and we condemn it in every form or fashion.”
Minister Rohee said the task force has been actively pursuing its objective, noting that reports have been released on the work of the unit annually since its establishment. “The problem that we have is that the information on the task force has not been widely disseminated, and in addition to that even when they are sent to the media, the media determines what sections of the report it will have reflected.”
He disclosed that the unit met recently and decided to visit 14 checkpoints in the interior including Mahdia, Omai, Olive Creek, 14 Mile Issano, Itaballi and Matthews Ridge. This is not the first time the force will be conducting such visits as it does so frequently.
While some of the other PPP Members of Parliament admitted the need for a sterner legal system and better systems for victims after being rescued, they rejected the need for a commission of inquiry, noting that it will consume both time and money. However, at the end of the debate, the opposition by virtue of its one-seat majority carried the day.
May 23, 2013 By
Six Guyana Defence Force (GDF) ranks are to be incarcerated for being Absent Without Leave (AWOL) and desertion after their court martial trials concluded on May 15, the army said in a statement.
Corporal Jerome Gomes and ordinary ratings Anthony Mortley and Gavin Andrews were sentenced to three months imprisonment after being charged with the offence of AWOL.
Gomes was represented by Attorney James Bond while Mortley and Andrews were unrepresented.
Corporals Ptolemy Ireland and Ravin Carroll were sentenced to three months and four months imprisonment respectively, after being charged with the offence of desertion.
They were both unrepresented. Meanwhile, Private Kumar Shivlochan who was charged with the offence of AWOL was sentenced to 42 days detention and discharge with ignominy. He too was unrepresented.
Gomes, Mortley, Andrews, Ireland and Carroll are to be incarcerated at state prisons. The trials commenced and ended on May 15, and all the accused pleaded guilty.
May 21, 2013 By
– says Ruel Johnson, other local writers lazy
Guyanese writer and poet Dr David Dabydeen has defended his management of the Caribbean Press, while labelling some Guyanese writers as lazy and declaring that doggerel or ‘puppyrel’ would not be published at the facility.
Dabydeen, who is also Guyana’s ambassador to China, made the comments in a letter in response to local writer Ruel Johnson who has been challenging him on a number of issues regarding the functioning of the press. Dabydeen also flayed Johnson personally, calling him lazy and mentioning that he had gone as far as purchasing a laptop computer and securing a UNESCO job for the young writer.
He asserted that the press will not publish lazy and incompetent work. “Unfortunately, Guyana at present only has a small handful of consistent writers of quality (I am thinking of creative writers like Rupert Roopnaraine and Paloma Mohammed). Hence in the 25 years of the Guyana Prize, only one resident Guyanese has ever won the Fiction Prize, and only two the First Book of Fiction. One resident Guyanese won the First Book of Poetry prize.
“Mr Johnson can bark and snarl at the judges (all distinguished writers/scholars from Guyana, the Caribbean, North America, Britain), but the fact remains that the writing coming out of Guyana, with notable exceptions, is poignantly poor. Mr Ruel Johnson can bark and snarl as much as he likes, but doggerel, much less ‘puppyrel’ will not be published by the Caribbean Press. And, sorry to say, most of the poetry sent to me by resident Guyanese writers is doggerel or ‘puppyrel’.
The press can set up all the committees it likes and issue grand policy statements, but dross is dross is unpublishable dross,” Professor Dabydeen who has written numerous books and poems declared.
He referred to Johnson’s comments about the press’ closeness to Freedom House, but noted that it will be publishing the parliamentary speeches of all of Guyana’s presidents. He also debunked claims by Johnson that the press has not published Martin Carter. “And why has Mr Johnson not submitted anything to the press for consideration, though I have asked him many times? Is it because, deep down, he knows he has not written anything of quality for many years? Has any other Caribbean or Guyanese press published his work? Although I found his dismissal of Wilson Harris to be arrogant and silly…,” Dabydeen wrote.
He said most of the submissions that went to him are not writing, but typing.”It was a real struggle getting sufficient poetry for the forthcoming Anthology of Contemporary Guyanese Poetry (resident Guyanese), and in the end the press had to go on the basis of promise rather than achievement. Fortunately, two, perhaps three, of the poets were good, so their work will carry the anthology.” He said instead of making an effort to learn how to write (for example, by reading, re- reading and re-reading distinguished writers like Mittelholzer, Martin Carter, Sir Wilson Harris, and so many others), most of the Guyanese would-be or self-styled writers he has encountered have read little.
He said to make books available free of cost to the people of Guyana, especially the young, the press has reprinted the work of Mittelholzer, Wilson Harris, Denis Williams, Jan Carew, and others. He said of the 60 titles published or about to be published so far, an increasing number is by winners of the Guyana Prize (Elly Niland, Maggie Harris, Mark McWatt, Ian McDonald, Cyril Dabydeen, David Dabydeen, Fred D’Aguiar) or by writers like Sasenaraine Persaud who have been shortlisted on every occasion for the Guyana Prize.
“They are in the ‘Classics’ series because they are modern classics (eg, Penguin and other presses have modern classics). The quality of the Caribbean Press speaks for itself: dozens of international scholars published, and some of the best creative writers produced by Guyana.
That I have longstanding friendships with almost all the living writers (two of whom, happily, are family and Guyana prize-winners) has helped to get their permission to re-publish their works. Almost all the writers waive royalties and agree for 400 copies of their books to be given freely to Guyana’s libraries, an act of charity and a concern for the young readers in Guyana. Some have even put their work on the press’s website for free downloading: www.caribbeanpress.org. So, again, Ruel Johnson is being devious in accusations of bias.”
Dabydeen also spoke about the furore created by Johnson over the press publication of a book written by the daughter of Culture Minister, Dr Frank Anthony. He said Ashley Anthony showed such promise as well as true quality and he hopes other children, reading it, will be inspired to write.
May 21, 2013 By
The Guyana Police Force (GPF) received 19 spanking new vehicles on Tuesday to aid in executing efficient services to the Guyanese public.
The fleet of vehicles was handed over to the acting Police Commissioner Leroy Brumell by Home Affair Minister Clement Rohee during an inaugural ceremony at the police headquarters, Eve Leary. The vehicles acquired are two canter trucks, two “Pitbull” buses, three Toyota Hilux motor vehicles, six Allion motorcars and six ATVs, to a cost of $61 million from the 2012 budget. With the addition of this fleet of 19 vehicles, the number of vehicles owned by the Guyana Police Force is now tallied up to 396.
Address the gathering, Rohee said as the premier law enforcement agency in Guyana, the GPF must at all times be equipped with the assets that enable it to execute its functions. He noted that the government is striving to fully equip the police force and other law enforcement agencies to make them mobile, effective and recognisable in society.
“The Guyana Police Force must have the necessary tools to execute its functions, I believe that the vehicles which are handed over will go a far way in assessing the force… we can never stop as a government, in providing these asset to the Guyana Police Force. The force is growing, its demands are increasing, its responsibilities are widening and therefore the people are looking forward to a more effective force that provides them with services and protection.
The minister is also asking the Guyanese public to play their part in ensuring that these and existing vehicles within the police force be used for service and protection.
Meanwhile, Brumell thanked the minister for the donation, which he said will boost and modernise the work carried out by the GPF. He noted that there cannot be a police division without any mobility. “You have to have vehicles to patrol, to respond to reports etc.”
“This generous donation here, we are very grateful for it and sir I want to assure you that the vehicles we have will be used for the intended purpose,” he added. The commissioner further stated that he is aiming to have at least two pick-ups at each of the seven divisions countrywide by the year-end.
In a short comment, A Division Commander and Assistant Police Commissioner George Vyphius said it is always a joy for the GPF to receive.
“It’s a joy, because it helps to strengthen our mobility and it helps us to serve the community and serve this nation.”
May 21, 2013 By
– calls for sacking of Green
Blasting them as moribund, illegitimate and a total disgrace, former City Hall consultant Ramon Gaskin called for the wholesale sacking of the longstanding Georgetown City Council. He also chided Mayor Hamilton Green for harassing the current acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba, saying that the incompetence of Green and the entire council is legendary.
There has been a fierce battle for control of the cash-strapped municipality, with Green mobilising vendors, councillors, and other citizens to pressure Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud into sacking Sooba. Green has never gotten along with any of the previous town clerks.
In a letter to the editor, Gaskin said it ought to be clear to everyone that Green and some other councillors are waging a multi-pronged war on Sooba to force her out. This unrelenting campaign, he said, consists of strikes, picketing exercises, demonstrations, a letter-writing campaign, struggle within the council, mobilisation of staff and vendors, and approaching the minister to secure her removal. According to Gaskin, the city has never seen such a campaign planned, orchestrated, and prosecuted in such an unconscionable fashion by former politicians who claim to be elected by the citizens, but, in fact, have had no legitimacy since 1997.
“These very politicians who operate under an illusion that after 19 years one can still be legitimately a city councillor obviously are not familiar with the Municipal Act 28:01 or the Constitution of Guyana. These are the same former politicians who in the days and years of the worst excesses and corruption and stealing at City Hall never once raised their voices against those involved in racketeering and lawlessness.”
Noting that he holds no brief for Ms Sooba but has some familiarity with City Hall, Gaskin said it was partially in response to his reports to Mr Keith Burrowes on his findings at City Hall that led to the removal of the notorious troika of Town Clerk Yonette Pluck-Cort, City Engineer Gregory Erskine, and Andrew Meredith and the elevation of Sooba to the position of acting town clerk.
“From the very beginning, many members of the now ineffective and expired council were unhappy with the minister’s decision, but having previously readily accepted the imposition of the now dismissed town clerk by a former minister, they found themselves in an unenviable position arguing against the present minister’s decision,” he asserted.
Since the minister did not impose the council’s own favoured candidate selected from among their own old boys/old girls network, the campaign was immediately launched to make life uncomfortable for Sooba in every possible way in order to drive her from the position, Gaskin reasoned. He said this campaign of intimidation and bullyism has continued uninterrupted.
Referring to a letter by Green in which he attempted to give the reasons for the great “frustration” felt by his councillors and to illustrate Sooba has behaved like a “dictator” and showing disrespect and displaying “insubordination” to the mayor in a memo, thus provoking his request for her “immediate removal”, Gaskin said all of this was hogwash.
He said the entire notion of Sooba being disrespectful and insubordinate is rubbish. “The expired councillors who are waging an all-out war against Ms Sooba cannot command any respect from her, and if indeed, she appears not to have any respect for them, then they brought it upon themselves and should stop complaining. They deserve exactly what they get. As for ‘insubordination’, this is pure nonsense. The town clerk is never subordinate to any councillor. His/her duties are set out in the Municipal Act 28:01 and it sure as hell does not include being subordinate to any councillor,” Gaskin declared.
He said in male-dominated societies, as a general rule, men have problems with independent, assertive women in leadership positions and when challenged, invariably demand an “apology”, “respect” and “subservience”. Some of these men are living in the past and deserve the rebuff they sometimes receive. “The fact of the matter is that this so-called council is an utter disgrace and is not respected by anyone as far as I am aware. They lack all legitimacy having been elected 19 years ago, and they have been a continuing disaster visited upon the city. Their incompetence is legendary and lack of concern for the welfare of the city and its citizens is well-documented. For years they happily presided over and never raised their voices over the corruption, nastiness, and dishonesty rampant in the place.”
Gaskin said central government also bears some responsibility for this continuing travesty, noting that the time has come to establish the Local Government Commission as required by the Constitution and to hold new elections. He added that while this is being put in place, the minister should use his powers under the act and immediately dismiss the entire lot of councillors from all the parties in this decaying, moribund, expired and illegitimate forum.
“They have all failed miserably and are a total disgrace. Only someone without pride and totally oblivious to the citizens’ welfare would presume to continue to sit there and to collect monies and perks.”
He said the minister ought to urgently and immediately consult with all the political parties represented in the National Assembly and other relevant groups to put in place a temporary council of persons of integrity and ability to assist the city managers to serve this city.
May 21, 2013 By