The Daily Signal 4 Oct 201521 questions with Barronelle Stutzman, the Washington florist who refused to make flower arrangements for a same-sex wedding.
The Regional Executive Officer (REO) of Region Five (Mahaica/Berbice), Ovid Morrison, has no respect for Regional Chairman Vickchand Ramphal. This comment was made by one of the coalition Councillors after the Regional Democratic Council meeting was again abruptly ended as a result of disruptions from the Coalition Councillors, who told the Chairman that the REO will continue to do what he wants.REO Ovid MorrisonThe Regional Executive Officer, who is the Clerk of the Council, has refused to provide the chairman with information on the region’s financial affairs, and has proceeded to spend the region’s finances without discussion or approval. One such instance was the establishment of a model farm by the REO which was not budgeted for and which does not have the approval of the RDC. Morrison, who has also been accused of assaulting one of the NDC’s Vice Chairmen, is the sole person who decides how the region’s finances are spent.According to Vice Chairman Rion Pieters, only certain communities are benefiting from the resources available to the region.“The people of this region want to know why excavation works are being carried out in specific communities, and there are other communities across this region which are neglected. Neglected so much that the people of Foulis, after realising that their community is being neglected, opted to pay for services which other communities are enjoying free of cost,” Pieters related.Noting that it is the REO who has control of the region’s excavators, Pieters questioned why some communities are being neglected.However, the answer could be found in what Coalition Councillor Dillon Crawford told the RDC about the REO.“It is a lucky thing that we have a very strong Regional Executive Officer who does not care a damn what you do or what your views are,” Crawford told the Regional Chairman.The Vice Chairman highlighted that, for the previous 12 meetings, the Coalition Councillors have been disrupting the RDC. Last Thursday’s meeting was chaotic as Coalition Councillors continuously interrupted Ramphal in his attempts to address the RDC.Councillor Abel Seetaram and Crawford repeatedly refused to take their seats when asked to do so. In fact, Crawford claimed that the Standing Order allows him to interrupt and stop the Chairman from speaking if he wanted to make a point.The meeting was eventually adjourned by the Chairman since he was unable to address the Council and direct the meeting.Pieters, addressing reporters after the meeting ended, said all efforts being made by the Coalition to have the RDC meetings adjourned are part of a well-orchestrated strategy.He added that the Clerk of Council, in his capacity as REO, is answerable to the council; and “if he allows the successful holding of these meetings, questions will be asked and we will demand answers.”Between January and July 2016, the Coalition Councillors refused to sit at the meetings, demanding an apology from the Chairman for not attending a function in the region at which President David Granger was the guest of honour. In was not until the President addressed the issue in August 2016, saying that he did not want an apology, that the Coalition counsellors returned to the RDC meetings.But in October 2016, other issues were brought to the house, and they started the walkout again.In May 2017, they walked out after the REO demanded an apology from the Chairman, saying that his credibility was at stake when Ramphal called for an investigation into allegations that two NDC officials had used an NDIA machine to carry out personal work.In December 2017, both sides had made a resolution to mend their differences and meet in the interest of the people of the region.However, in February 2018, Morrison led a walk out of Coalition Councillors after he attempted to remove a local journalist from one of the RDC meetings but was unsuccessful because the Chairman did not approve his demands.“These acts are not done by mistake, but they are deliberately done to prevent the people of Region Five from being made aware and (brought) up-to-date of what is taking place as it relates to most of what is being done across Region Five,” the Vice Chairman said.