PPP accuses Govt of frustrating work of NDCs
General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Clement Rohee has lambasted the David Granger led-Administration and it’s Communities Ministry for financially stifling Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) across the country.At the Party’s weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Rohee accused Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan of withholding his approval for the release of budgeted monies to NDCs controlled by the PPP/C.PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee“The withholding of ministerial approval for budgets submitted by the NDCs is a blatant manifestation of the arrogant and spiteful behaviour of the Minister to punish the people in those NDCs controlled by the PPP/C.The NDCs are being financially stifled by APNU/AFC [A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change] coalition Administration, thus preventing them from executing their functions in the interest of the people, who elected the Council members to administer the affairs of their respected local authority areas,” he remarked.According to the PPP General Secretary, this new “studied policy” of the Administration has resulted in residents being affected by non-functioning NDCs. He added that cleaning of trenches and canals, works to be done on internal roads, environmental sanitation, maintenance issues and other civil works are badly needed in these communities.Rohee argued too that these residents would have voted for their elected representatives to improve their environmental and infrastructural surroundings, as promised in the campaign trails leading up to the Local Government Elections, which was held in March.He pointed out that some three months after those elections, the political rhetoric emanated from the coalition about the importance of democratic governance, seems to have turned out to be meaningless and self-fulfilling prophecies.“It has now become obvious to all that the Granger-Administration has now embarked on a studied policy of frustrating the activities of the PPP/C controlled NDCs and the APNU so-called democratic renewal of the lives of the newly elected Councils, have been made a mockery by withholding ministerial approval for spending monies already in possession of the NDCs,” he remarked.Rohee went on to say that the NDCs will never be able to “work for the good of their communities,” words spouted by the APNU/AFC, which continues to pursue policies to the contrary, effectively blocking the development of these communities.All the 48 PPP/C-controlled NDCs across the country are yet to receive their budgeted subventions, Rohee said, while warning that with the money being held up, the works to be done are becoming greater and so by the end of it, when the funds are finally release to the NDCs, then it would be inadequate because they allowed the works to mount.Asked whether NDCs would have to submit audited statements for past years, the General Secretary said he was unaware of such a requirement, noting that there needs to be clear instructions from the subject Minister.“I need to see these things in writing from the Minister… I don’t recall any of our newly elected or re-elected Councillors having any documents asking for such reports to be submitted. It is legally wrong for you to be holding up monies that are already in the hands of these NDCs for works to be done in these NDCs on the spurious claim that they need to submit (such documents),” he stated.Moreover, the PPP General Secretary was asked whether this situation was isolated to only PPP/C controlled NDCs or all. However, Rohee could not say. He explained the Councillors in the NDCs controlled by his party would have complained about the situation and have not had any such reports from the others.“We have been paying attention to NDCs where PPP Councillors are in majority… we have a vested interest in ensuring that what was promised to those people are given and therefore we are giving the necessary backing to our NDC Councillors to press for this,” he remarked.