…former mayor complains about
A PARTNERSHIP for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Council members on the Lethem Town Council are up in arms against the opposition members, accusing them of deliberately stymieing the work of the Council by absenting themselves from meetings and running the body like a ‘cake shop.’
On Monday, APNU/AFC Council Member and Former Lethem Mayor, Carlton Beckles stated that the Council has “sunken to the extreme low” as its Mayor and others on the PPP divide abandoned Monday’s Council meeting. At the meeting, the members were expected to discuss pressing issues in relation to the Council’s spending and its rumoured plans to invite the Leader of the Opposition to launch the planned Lethem Town week.
On the Council there are four APNU/AFC members to six PPP. Beckles told the Guyana Chronicle that the upcoming October 21-24, Town Week does not have the support of the APNU+AFC members because they believe that it is being planned at the very last moment with discussions only having commenced on October 4. He also stated that the Council majority continues to make decisions without inviting the APNU/AFC Councillors to meetings.
“We understand, through the grapevine, that it is their intention to invite the Opposition Leader up here to open the Town Week but I have some serious questions. I want to know where they are getting funding from for this Town Week; whether it is Council’s money or not because I know when we ran Town Week 2017 no money was taken from Council,” the former Mayor said.
He raised the concerns in relation to finances as he noted that the Council is approaching a financial crisis as its revenues have been decreased by over 50 per cent. There are also the issues of a stolen $300,000 worth inverter, previously installed at the Lethem Declaration Park; unauthorised constructions at a “rapid rate”; the non-payment of minimum wages to persons and more.
Beckles also said that residents recently petitioned President David Granger in relation to construction works taking place in an area designated for ecological purposes and, while the President would have responded, the letter is still to be discussed by the Council.
“At the last statutory meeting, when we brought it up and we showed the Mayor a copy of the letter from the President, the Mayor totally disregarded that letter and said that it wasn’t addressed to him,” Beckles reported.
On Monday, while the APNU/AFC Councillors turned out to another statutory meeting the Former Mayor said that the Deputy Mayor, a PPP representative, slipped out of the compound to avoid the meeting while the Mayor called off the meeting by phone just before it was to commence. “When we were there, just before the commencement time of the meeting, the Mayor called in to say that he is unavailable but it looks as if it is something deliberately planned,” Beckles said.
“We’re not there because we want to have our own personal agenda. We’re there out of concern because we know we started a Council from nothing and to the magnitude that we would have built that Council. And now to see that Council disintegrate to the level where the Mayor and his Councillors that have a majority are running from a statutory where it is just four of us? Something is definitely wrong.”
Beckles said that when he arrived at the Council the Deputy Mayor slipped out of the compound at its second exit. He noted that some of the Councillors would have written to the Local Government Commission on numerous occasions and they hope that the Commission will pay attention to the many issues affecting the Town Council.
Another APNU/AFC Councillor, Yolanda Moffett speaking to the Mayor’s managing style said: “He acts as a dictator. It’s his way or no way.” She believes that the statutory meeting was not only boycotted for political reasons but as a means to avoid discussions on the Town Week. “Town Week is a big thing; it’s a big event. We have young girls who would go up for pageants and all these things. How are you now deciding on a Town Week where you have to write letters to different Ministries; different stakeholders, the private sector in order to garner revenue to hold the Town Week?” Moffett questioned. Beckles has chastised the PPP six, stating: “You’re in charge. You have to steer this ship in troubled times. You cannot abandon the ship.”