Region 8 chairman walks away from PPP
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Region Eight Chairman, Bonaventure Fredericks (DPI photo)
Region Eight Chairman, Bonaventure Fredericks (DPI photo)

…accuses party of stifling development
…says resisted coercion to obstruct government business

By Alva Solomon

Pull quote:

“I didn’t go with it, I went against the instructions of the party {PPP}. I belong to this region and I put the people first,” Fredericks said. He added that he has enjoyed a good relationship with President David Granger, whose government, he added, has been working hard to raise the standard of living of the people of Region Eight.

 

SINCE 2015, Region Eight Chairman, Bonaventure Fredericks, has ignored orders by the Peoples Progressive Party’s leaders to avoid events associated with the government.
The regional official, who was unbothered by threats by the PPP’s hierarchy to remove him from the post, has since crossed the floor and is now a regional candidate at the March 2, 2020 polls for the APNU+AFC coalition.

“I never muzzled anyone and I don’t like anyone to do likewise to me,” noted Fredericks, who was elected by the PPP following the 2015 regional and general elections to serve as regional chairman.

The PPP was victorious in the region at the May 2015 polls, attaining more seats in the hinterland administrative region than the coalition.

Fredericks told the Guyana Chronicle, on Friday, that soon after the APNU+AFC assumed office in May 2015, the PPP’s hierarchy was passing instructions to its regional leaders, including him and the regional leaders of Regions One, Six and Region Nine, among others, that they must not cooperate with the David Granger-government.

“I didn’t go with it, I went against the instructions of the party {PPP}. I belong to this region and I put the people first,” Fredericks said. He added that he has enjoyed a good relationship with President David Granger, whose government, he added, has been working hard to raise the standard of living of the people of Region Eight.

Good relationship
“I enjoyed a good relationship with most of the ministers of the government,” Fredericks said, adding that he sees the job of a regional chairman as one which puts the people’s interest first. To this end, Fredericks said that when he took the oath of office, he did so not as a PPP official, but rather a state official with the people’s interest as a priority.
“The main reason I am in this work is for the development of the people in this region,” he said.

Fredericks told the Guyana Chronicle that, after leaving the private sector, he moved through the ranks of the regional administration to the post he currently holds. He said he started out as a driver and subsequently he moved onto being a stores clerk. Later he would be elevated within the administration office before he took on the world of politics. “I belong to this region and I put it first” he said. He also noted that as s driver, he communicated regularly with the regional officials and, as such, he gained valuable insight into the management of the region.

Unbothered
As regards the PPP’s earlier threats to replace him if that party wins the regional aspect of the 2020 elections in the Potaro/Siparuni , Fredericks said he was unfazed since another job is always waiting for him. ”My old job is still waiting on me,” he added in assuring tones.

According to Fredericks, although the time has been short, the government has been “doing a good job” even as he cited several infrastructural projects as well as economic initiatives undertaken in the region by the APNU+AFC government. “I can say so without a doubt, I have travelled the region because I do not sit at Mahdia in the office,” he said.
He explained that he works around the clock by venturing into various areas within the region to ensure the mandate of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) is undertaken.
Fredericks said that geographically, the regional authorities are challenged but he noted that he hops onto his all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and ventures into the region to carry out his duties. ”I do my own riding, I get onto the ATV and ensure I do what I am being paid to do,” the regional official said in frank tones.

Conversation with the President
He said that in 2017, while at a public event at the village of Tuseneng, he had a conversation with President Granger who asked what the region needed in terms of support from the government. ”I told him roads, we need good roads to reduce the cost of living,” Fredericks said.

He said that the region depends on agriculture and as such, the improvement of the road network by the government has assisted in cushioning the problem. ”We have been able to work on several things,” he said, as he reiterated that the standard of living is improving. He said more can be done and he expressed confidence that in time, the quality of life expected by many, will be attained.

Projects
The government, through the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, undertook a major road rehabilitation project at Mahdia in 2018, in which the roads and drains were rehabilitated with concrete as the area prepared for township status. Fredericks said there is still some way to go before the entire stretch catered for in the scope of works, is completed but he noted the weather has been a major factor hampering the works. He said he is optimistic the project will be completed in the months ahead.

He said that there are also other road projects which were undertaken by the authorities and these include a 9-mile stretch connecting the road network at Mahdia with Pamela Landing. He added that the Princeville to Denham Bridge roadway was also completed , reducing travel time in the area. Several other minor roads were also rehabilitated.

He said maintenance of the roadways has been a major undertaking for the regional administration and he listed the Mahdia-Micobie road as one which has been in “good shape” due to maintenance.

Noting that “doing work in this region is no walkover,” Fredericks said that the government was able to build and rehabilitate several schools in the region. He said new schools were built at Itabac and the remote village of Kaibarupai.

Education delivery
He also listed the controversial Kato Secondary School which was built by the previous administration as another major undertaking for the authorities. The multi-million dollar school’s opening was delayed after a number of faults were discovered by the authorities. The faults have since been remedied and the school currently caters for 300 plus students.
Fredericks said the standard of education delivery has been improving and he credited the Ministry of Education for addressing the faults by taking measures such as increasing the number of teachers in the schools in the region.
“We have had some good works in the region recently”, Fredericks said, as he lauded authorities for the $10M lapidary project at Monkey Mountain as well as a tomato processing project at Paramakatoi.

Fredericks also noted that the business community of Mahdia has been supportive of the RDC. He said this relationship stretches back to water-supply problem in which the private entities came to the aid of the authorities.

The regional official’s political views mirror those of several other regional and village leaders who have since thrown their support behind the ANPU+AFC administration, primarily for steps taken to improve the standard of living of Guyanese. Recently, a former regional chairman of Region One lauded the government for its support to the region.
This week also, several indigenous leaders have also commended the government for works undertaken to improve village life. Reports are that in several villages, such as Aishalton in the Rupununi, the village leaders are being targeted by Opposition officials on the ground for cooperating with the coalition government.

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