PNM gears up in Siparia

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 18:30

As the new­ly elect­ed coun­cil­lors of the Siparia Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion took their oath of of­fice yes­ter­day, Peo­ple's Na­tion­al Move­ment (PNM) mem­bers are al­ready gear­ing up to let their voic­es be heard.

Their voic­es are all they have as out­go­ing chair­man Dr Glenn Ra­mad­hars­ingh con­firmed that the Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress now has the ma­jor­i­ty to win all votes. 

The UNC has the edge over the PNM by a mar­gin of six-three. A quo­rum com­pris­es of sev­en votes and Ra­mad­hars­ingh ex­plained that the UNC will swear in two al­der­men, tak­ing their votes to eight.

In last week's lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, the PNM lost ground in the Siparia Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion when it lost the Siparia West/Fyz­abad seat. Fol­low­ing the 2016 elec­tions, for­mer Siparia East/San Fran­cique coun­cil­lor Leo Dood­nath de­clared him­self an in­de­pen­dent from the UNC and did not al­ways vote in favour of his par­ty.

It meant that the vot­ing on mo­tions would some­times re­sult in the tie, es­pe­cial­ly when the PNM mem­bers walked out.

But at yes­ter­day's cer­e­mo­ny, Ra­mad­hars­ingh said this will no longer work.

"We had a mem­ber who be­came in­de­pen­dent, so you would have to bar­gain, ne­go­ti­ate and talk to him at every turn be­cause the coun­cil need­ed to ap­prove every­thing. 

It was dif­fi­cult to know, at any one time, if you would get sup­port on any mat­ter. So that had us in a state of in­de­ci­sion and that stopped some of the big projects that we want­ed to do.

Some of the great things that we want­ed to do, we could not have done it. With this ma­jor­i­ty, they can do a lot of things by con­sult­ing among them­selves.

When the UNC ap­points the al­der­men, they will have eight.

The UNC alone can form its own cau­cus so the is­sue of PNM walk­outs will not be fea­tur­ing at the Siparia Re­gion­al Cor­po­ra­tion be­cause it will be of no worth and val­ue,"  Ra­mad­hars­ingh said.

Brighton/Ves­signy coun­cil­lor Ger­ald Debe­sette said the PNM mem­bers will con­tin­ue to work as a team, with three coun­cil­lors and two al­der­men. Debe­sette said when he first be­came a coun­cil­lor in 2010, the PNM on­ly got three seats and were still a force. He said while the UNC has the ma­jor­i­ty, the com­mon goal was the work for the peo­ple. 

"We will try to deal with it, what­ev­er con­fronts us. At the end of the day, our voic­es will be heard. We won't just lay down and play dead. 

We will rep­re­sent and def­i­nite­ly, our voic­es will be heard,"  Debe­sette said.

He said when Ra­mad­hars­ingh came in, there was a high-hand­ed at­ti­tude, with the for­mer Min­is­ter of the Peo­ple "still think­ing he was an MP".

The PNM mem­bers even brought a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in Ra­mad­hars­ingh, which was de­feat­ed.

How­ev­er, Debe­sette said the coun­cil was able to set­tle and work to­geth­er. At 63, he said this is his last term as a coun­cil­lor.

Not­ing that there were four new mem­bers of the coun­cil, Ra­mad­hars­ingh ad­vised them to seek guid­ance from the ex­pe­ri­enced mem­bers.

As to whether he will re­turn, Ra­mad­hars­ingh said that was up to the par­ty as he is a can­di­date for al­der­man.

Reporter: Kevon Felmine