Minister Bulkan clarifies erroneous Opposition statements about the Aranaputa village
DPI, Guyana, Friday, December 15, 2017
Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan has dispelled claims made by Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira during the Consideration of Estimates on Wednesday, December 13 that the village of Aranaputa, North Rupununi was designated and gazetted as a Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC).
The Minister on Thursday clarified that the village has not yet attained NDC status. He said the Administration has expressed its desire to have the village accorded the NDC status, however, this is not finalised.
Notwithstanding this, Minister Bulkan assured that the Government remains committed to providing the same level of support to officers in that village, consistent with other local authority organs.
Teixeira’s claims that there are no elected officers of the council in Aranaputa was also discounted by the Communities Minister, who disclosed that elections for officers and a councillor were conducted in July 2015 simultaneously with elections for Amerindian Village Councils held across the country.
He highlighted that these elections were monitored by the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, as well as the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo Region (Region Nine).
A chairperson and other officers were elected, therefore Teixeira’s assertion, Minister Bulkan noted is “erroneous.”
Additionally, the suggestions by the Opposition Chief Whip that line item 6211 under the expenditure estimates can only be utilised for the payment of stipends for Toshaos and Deputy Toshaos and prohibits payments to local government officers were discounted by Minister Bulkan.
He explained that the financial regulations for the expenditure of public funds in this specific instance do not prohibit payments of stipends to local government officers.
Minister Bulkan also finds it insidious that the Opposition would create a fuss about Government’s stance to pay a stipend to the Chairperson of the Aranaputa Village Council while the village awaits NDC status.
By: Stacy Carmichael