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PPP running Lethem Town Council like a cake shop’

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APNU/AFC Council Member and Former Lethem Mayor, Carlton Beckles

…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.”

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Unsubstantiated allegations made by the APNU

Dear Editor,
We the undersigned refer to a news report in the Guyana Chronicle of October 15, 2019, captioned “PPP running Lethem Town Council like a cake shop”. Editor, as a result of many misleading statements, we therefore totally wish to refute the unsubstantiated allegations made by the APNU Councillors, former Mayor Carlton Beckles and Yolanda Moffett.
Regrettably, they were not informed early by the Town Clerk of the postponement of the Council meeting focusing on preparing for Lethem Town Week. However, two factors have to be taken into consideration.
Firstly, the statutory meeting of the Council was postponed due to the lack of a quorum as a result of several Councillors being assigned responsibilities that demanded urgent attention on the day of the meeting.
Secondly, in spite of Mr Beckles’ claim that the Council’s majority continues to make decisions without inviting the APNU/AFC Councillors to meetings, the minutes of the statutory meeting held in April 2019 records that the three APNU Councillors, inclusive of Beckles, stated they would not participate/cooperate with the Mayor and the rest of the council in Lethem Town Week Activities for 2019. Despite letters of invitation sent to APNU Councillor Moffett, she remained a no show at all Town Week Committee meetings. It must be noted that during its deliberations for the Lethem Town Week celebrations, the Committee proposed that invitations be sent Government functionaries inclusive of Minister of Communities and Leader of the PPP/C. No decision was made regarding the Leader of the PPP/C to launch Lethem Town Week.
It is true that APNU Councillor Beckles sought clarity on the finances for 2019 Town Week. We, the undersigned, support his call that a detailed financial report should be published. But this can only be done after we have concluded the Town Week activities.
This PPP/C-led Council will not break the laws and financial rules; unlike what happened under the APNU/AFC-dominated Council which managed the 2017-2018 Town Week Committee and still cannot account for funds received and spent in that year respectively. This is what Mr Beckles should be calling for – the publication of the financial statements under his watch. The fact that many businesses have demanded cash from the Council upfront today is due to the history of the previous Council not honouring their bills in 2017/2018 under Mr Beckles’ watch. Even labourers are still waiting for their pay because of how badly Mr Beckles and the PNC cabal managed Lethem Town Week 2017-2018.
When the PPP/C won Lethem in the November 2018 elections, we met an empty and bankrupt treasury with liabilities in excess of $5 million. Over the last 10 months, due to prudent management, the PPP/C-led Council by Mayor John Macedo has been able to wipe off some $3 million of that debt.
The PPP/C Council had successfully managed to rectify the wages/salary scale for its employees to their satisfaction as compared to the employee’s underpayment by the previous Council.
A question was asked by APNU Councillor Beckles regarding the theft of an inverter at the Lethem Declaration Park. While we have called in the police, the act happened under the APNU/AFC-controlled Council and thus, Mr Beckles will be in a better position to answer to the police for the theft.
Clearly, the allegations in the Guyana Chronicle are meant to distract, detract, and disturb the smooth functioning of the Council and divide the township.
Editor, the work of the PPP/C-controlled Council will not be hampered by these false allegations, baseless insinuations, and acts of intimidation. We have a job to do and we remain accountable to the people of Lethem; we will not allow political pallbearers like Mr Beckles to interfere with the progress being made by a democratically run and accountable Council.
The Lethem Town Council will continue to serve all of its constituents.

Mayor  John Macedo
Deputy Mayor  Debra
Jason Wilson
Megan Thomas
Fitzgerald Singh
Indira Singh

One would have thought that after Williams debacles following the NCV all PNC fools might learn a thing or two that whenever they make an accusation, it always turns out that they were the worst defendants. Looks like learning is way above PNCs pay grade.

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