PASTOR Renis Morian was on Tuesday elected Chairman of Region 10 (Upper Demerara/Upper Berbice) when the 18 councillors chosen to represent the A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change Coalition and the People’s Progressive Party/Civic met in the boardroom of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC).Morian, who had served for 10 years as a councillor before becoming a Member of Parliament in 2011, replaces Sharma Solomon, also of the APNU+AFC coalition, who was not retained as councillor and was absent.
Before the 09.00hrs meeting of the councillors, who were sworn in by Regional Executive Officer, Ms. Yolanda Hilliman, there were some persons protesting the manner in which Solomon was left off of the list, hence his ineligibility to be retained as regional chairman.
However, things went smoothly, and the 18-member group, after being accepted, elected Morian unopposed. AFC councillor Elroy Adolph, representing the Sub-Region 2 (Kwakwani) District, was elected vice-chairman, after winning by a 10-7 margin over fellow councillor, Mavis Elydia Lewis.
In his maiden speech, Morian outlined his vision for the Council, from the standard code of dress for male and female councillors.
Morian made the point that after taking their oaths of office, councillors agreed to work with each other, whether in the majority or minority, as he gave them assurance of working together for the good of the region.
Looking to the future, Morian said: “My approach is what we call integrated rural development, whereby all the sectors will have to play their part, hence each sector — health, agriculture, works, finance and education – will all have to have benchmarks that they will be working towards.
“Some persons say that the economy in Region 10 is flat; some say that we are on life-support; but I am persuaded that once we put our hearts and minds together and we work together, we will be able to overcome difficulties.”
Addressing the contracts issue, Morian stated: “We are looking at the whole thing of contracts in Region 10. I want to assure you that no one contractor will have seven contracts. The other assurance I want to give is that there are works in the region that women could do that normally would go to men. I want to give the women in this region the assurance that women will work.
“On the issue of young people, there are young people coming out of schools like the Linden Technical Institute. The young people in the region who are qualified, again I want to give the assurance to young people that where contracts and works in this region are concerned, young people will have that opportunity.”
On the topic of corruption, the newly-elected regional chairman noted there will be zero tolerance on corruption. “There is a perception; and perception sounds greater than fact, that once you come into the RDC, you are corrupt. We have to work to eradicate this perception. Some of those perceptions might hold some grounds, too, and one of the areas is the works area. And one strike; that’s it! Because, every time we “shaft” a project, we are “shafting” the people of Region 10, and “shafting” ourselves. I don’t take, I don’t give. Like the Government, there will be zero tolerance on corruption; there is no witch-hunt, but there will be some shifting around.”
The 18 members of the RDC are APNU + AFC Sandra Adams, Elroy Adolph, Denise Belgrave, Gordon Callendar, Stanley Collins, Owen Desouza, Douglas Gittens, Vladimir Lonck Glasgow, Lawrence Hacket, Tracey Oliver Johnson, Mavis Lewis, Renis Morian, Franklyn Carew, and Elymawell Barkoye.
The PPP/C councillors are: Dexter Harding, Gregory Harris and Serojinie Narine.
Among those who witnessed the swearing in were Members of Parliament Audwin Rutherford, Valerie Patterson and Jermaine Figuiera.