…says too many complaints piling upWith an increased number of complaints being lodged against staff attached to the Works Department within the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice), Regional Chairman Renis Morian has threatened to have them removed. While complaints against the department – which is responsible for the overseeing of the region’s infrastructural projects – is nothing new, it came in for more harsh criticism during the hosting of the Council’s statutory meeting last week when staff were accused of corruptive practices and under-productivity.Regional Chairman Renis Morian among Councillors during last week’s statutory meetingThis, according to officials, continues to affect the flow of the system of works in the region. In threatening to remove all of the staff in the department, the Regional Chairman said the Council has been trying to sort out the same issues since 2015, but has seen no change.He said if there is no change by December 31, 2018, the Council will move a motion for the removal of all of the staff within the department. According to Morian, the Council will cite “corruption, friendism” and “nepotism” as grounds for their removal, as he alleged that “kleptocracy” continues.Morian said there are no set systems or structures for dates when projects are checked and staff seem to be acting outside of the interest of getting the work of the Council done. “People going and check their friend work and ain’t checking other people’s work because is not their friend… I’m aware of it because I’m on the ground…We’re moving to a place where I’m going to write the Minister, write the President and say we can’t work with the present staff… they don’t even send the contracts to the Works Committee… that is a prerequisite of this RDC here, before the people (contractors) get paid, works got to sign off. When I go to works (department), people liming, coming in very, very, late. There’s no structure in the Works Department…This RDC here is going to move to a place where we’re going to ask for the whole Works Department to move,” the Chairman told the meeting.Regional Executive Officer (REO) Orrin Gordon also pointed out that he continues to have issues with Bill of Quantities submitted for projects and would have raised these concerns with engineers on the ground. “So that would have obviously slowed down the process… On Monday we would have had a meeting and at the meeting made it clear that we need to move some people out of the line and try and train some other people in line. Because we are not getting the productivity from those individuals,” he said. Additionally, Gordon said there are issues with status reports, which he noted contain a lot of gaps with missing information.“We have to do better than this. There was an instance where a particular line item was overspent, and I said, ‘I can’t remember us doing that amount of work’. And they went back and said there was an error. When we check through the thing, we saw that one project was stated three times,” Gordon continued. However, he also admitted that presently, there are insufficient technical staff to carry out checks to projects with Councillors noting that the issues with the system continues to affect the timely payment of contractors. Back in June, the Council made a unanimous decision to restructure its Works Department. Over the years, the department has come in for high condemnation from Morian and Councillors alike, with some of its members even being accused of fraud. Gordon had also pointed out that the department is a very troubling area and had made calls for the administration to have it reorganised. Several Councillors have also over the years registered their frustration in dealing with issues related to the department.
Philippe Coutinho scored a hat-trick for Brazil 1 Philippe Coutinho scored his first international hat-trick as Brazil wiped the floor with Haiti in the Copa America.The 23-year-old Liverpool forward had just one goal to his name prior to this Group B thrashing, which finished 7-1.Renato Augusto scored twice in Orlando and Gabriel and Lucas Lima got the others.Peru are up next for Brazil.