For the sixth consecutive month, the Region Five Regional Democratic Council (RDC) has been unable to sit because of uncouth disruptions to its monthly statutory meetings by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Regional Councillors. On Thursday, the APNU/AFC Councillors led by Carol Fraser again prevented the chairman from presiding over the meeting.Joseph maintains that Regional Vickchand Ramphal was disrespectful to President David Granger and as a result will not be allowed to preside over the meeting.Despite calls by the chairman for Joseph to stand if she had something to say, the councillor disregarded the utterances and continued to palaver.Beneath her loud nuisance the chairman said she was being disrespectful to the entire council and the Region. The other APNU/AFC councillors then joined Joseph in banging the table.Following that episode, Ramphal called for unity and cooperation. He said it was a time when they all needed to work together for the Region but his words were drowned out by the sounds of banging and singing.The meeting was yet again adjourned.Since the beginning of the year, the Regional Administration has been unable to hold its monthly statutory meetings because of disruptions by the APNU/AFC side.They are contending that Ramphal disrespected President Granger by not attending an official function in the Region in January of this year.Joseph says they are demanding an apology from the chairman before they allow him to chair any meeting of which they are a part of.She had said earlier: “We are out here because the council has been suspended, because we feel that the Chairman of this Region [who] took the oath of office to serve all the people of this Region, disrespected His Excellence President David Granger when he visited January 15, to commission two buses for the Region and as such we cannot respect him as the Chairman of this Region until he apologises publically to his Excellency.”Ramphal told reporters that he did not attend the function because he was not invited to it. In noting that the welcoming of the President was done by an APNU councillor, Ramphal said it should have been done by him. Further to that, he emphasised that he did not receive a formal invitation to the commissioning which was held in the compound of the RDC that houses his office: “I was given a programme the day before and no invitation.”However Abel Seetaram, an APNU/AFC councillor had told the media that the chairman was invited. He said Joseph met with Ramphal and discussed the agenda and the reason for the President’s visit. “The chairman is claiming that all he was given is an agenda of the event. I don’t know where you are given a menu and they would not invite you for a meal. Why will they give you that menu; you ought to know about the event or the get-together,” said Seetaram.Seetaram said the current administration has never planned an event in that Region without informing the Regional Administration.According to Ramphal, at the RDC level, they have acknowledged the donation of the two school buses and appreciate it as it aims at assisting school children from several communities. He says the non-attendance of the Regional Chairman is in no way meant to be disrespectful to the people of Region Five or the President. “I want to believe that proper communication was not done on the ground by the people who are responsible for doing so,” he pointed out.Meanwhile, despite heavy and persistent flooding in the Region, the council has not been able to sit as a body and discuss a way forward. (Andrew Carmichael)
Seventeen people were killed in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) in 2019, the same as was recorded for the previous year.Dead: Dominic Tyler SulkerOf the 17, seven were pedestrians including two children, six motorcyclists, two drivers, one occupant of a motor vehicle and one pedal cyclist being a child.In addition, the traffic department recorded 39 serious accidents for 2019 when compared to 41 in the previous year. There were also 52 damage accidents compared to 65 in 2018.Dead: Kevin SinclairIn all, there was a total of 178 accidents compared to 197 the previous year.“We have noticed that over the weekend period is our trouble period and from Friday evenings into Monday mornings. So, it is the entire weekend and then on holidays,” Commander Brutus revealed.He further stated that most of the accidents occurred between 18:00h and midnight.Dead: Gurdatt Hemraj“In terms of the factors for the causes of accidents, speeding tops the list, driving under the influence (DUI). Sometimes you have speeding and DUI – they go hand in hand. Inattentiveness by the use of the cell phone while driving is also one of the factors which lead to accidents,” the Commander said while noting that the failure to observe the rules of the road is also a factor.Hazards on the road such as derelict vehicles, vehicles parked dangerously and other objects left on the road shoulders that should not be there have contributed to most of the road accidents.One of the accident scenes of 2019“When we look at the offices that we target to curb fatal accidents, in general, is speeding.”However, 1923 cases were made out against errant drivers. Forty-nine cases were for driving under the influence; 17 persons were charged for dangerous driving, 323 for failing to wear seat belts and 58 for failing to wear safety helmets. In all, a total of 5861 are before the court for general traffic offences.“As road users, we need to pay attention to the rules of the road. There are published speed limits on the road and this is based on engineers that had the speed limits fixed to that rate because of the general circumstances surrounding the conditions of the road, the housing and the communities around and the width of the road. All those factors are used to determine the speed limit of a certain area,” the Commander added.He also stated that drivers also need to consider other road users.“You should always anticipate that the other person will make the mistake, [hone] your driving to prevent an accident rather than going fast unnecessarily. You also need to cater for animals on our roads. Of course, from time to time we will have the stray catchers impounding the animals but then they are still instances where animals are on the road.”He noted that in Region Six and more particularly on the Corentyne, drivers need to consider rice harvesting and the wetness on the roadway in most instances.Nevertheless, he added that every life that is lost on the roadway is one too many.