A delay in purchasing a diesel pump to fill up trucks at the Mayaro Rio Claro Regional Corporation has led to a partial shut down of operations at the corporation, including water delivery and cesspool cleaning services, as the trucks are parked up.
Fingers were pointed during the statutory meeting yesterday with the council and administration members blaming each other for the delay. Chairman Raymond Cozier said the council had approved the sum of $1,687 since January to purchase the diesel pumps, but the administration said the funds were not released because the approval was not ratified and adopted.
Cozier said, “To have approval and rest that note down, waiting on policy directive from the council for a general-purpose situation, I think it is nonsensical because the importance of the note speaks volumes, greater than the volume of the process that we are getting a policy directive on the whole spending. That note was to save us from the dilemma that we are in.”
Saying that the people of Rio/Claro are frustrated and severely impacted, he said since last week Thursday no water truck, cesspool trucks, or other vehicles have been working.
Cozier also complained about the disrespect and verbal abuse meted out to the council members at meetings.
“Members of the council are called by all different names other than their birth name. Officers will have to ask permission to speak. They will be bouff if they speak without permission. They would be told to shut up and hush.”
Recalling an incident at the last public health meeting, he said the Chief Executive Officer Ashmead Mohammed had verbally attacked him. “He referred to the chairman as a potbound dog and as Jean-Bedel Bokassa and described himself to be a German Shepherd. He described members as actors in a movie.” At a subsequent meeting, he said Mohammed refused to apologize and walked out of the room, followed by administration members. Cozier has since forwarded a formal complaint to the Rural Development and Local Government Minister Kazim Hosein and the Permanent Secretary.
Meanwhile, with the discovery of several carcasses of infected Red Howler monkeys within its region, the Mayaro Rio Claro Regional Corporation will be embarking on a yellow fever awareness and mosquito eradication programme.
Already starved for funds, the council will be requesting $588,000 from Central Government for their bulk waste removal exercise to shutdown potential breeding grounds in the Poole/Rio Claro, Biche, Plum Mitan, Mayaro, and Ecclesville/Bristol areas.
On Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said the country is on heightened alert following the discovery of the carcasses of the infected red howler monkey in Biche and Plum Mitan.
At the corporation’s statutory meeting yesterday, Mayaro/Guayaguayare councillor Wendell Charles suggested that the corporation embark on an education and vaccination programme throughout the region while they await funding.
Chairman Cozier agreed, saying, “The insect venter team will be engaged in spraying. It is important that as soon as our trucks are back on stream we engage in the bulk waste removal and priority to be given to the areas where the yellow fever is present at the moment, which is the Biche/Plum Mitan area. But, we should get involved and not just sit and wait for the ministry.”
Ecclesville councillor Shaffik Mohammed suggested that Cozier request a meeting with other agencies to pool resources and come up with ideas to address this serious health issue.