Summary of visit to Lethem 10-11 November, 2016

25th November, 2016

Summary of visit to Lethem 10-11 November, 2016

The main purpose of this visit to Lethem was to take part in the Home Improvement Subsidy awarding for Region 9.

This was done at the Indigenous people’s hotel on 10th November, 2016.

The following persons were present along with the 8 recipients:

Regional Chairman Allicock
Mayor of Lethem Carlton Beckles
Director of Community Development Mr. Gladwin Charles
Community Development Officer Mr. Kissoon

RHO Michelle Joseph
Deputy RHO Nola Johnny

25 applications were shared out, 15 were returned completed and 8 persons qualified. I believe much more could have been done by regional officials to attract wider participation and now that there is a radio in Lethem, that should also be used to spread information to the population. That being said, it is a good initiative that should be pursued further and lessons learned here can be used in land allocations procedures.

I spent time at the Regional Office over the two days and will high light what I saw/found out and make recommendations where necessary.

Vehicle for Region 9 Office – we’ve discussed this a number of times in the past and nothing has been done. The RHO has made multiple requests in the past to management and the Minister for a vehicle to no avail.
She is currently using a car belonging to a member of her family. We cannot have officers doing government business and punishing to execute their tasks. I did a lot of walking around Lethem on this and previous visits because it is not a place where taxis are easily available.
Recommendation : as discussed previously, please do whatever s necessary to procure a vehicle for this office before the end of 2016.
Digital Camera – the officer has requested a digital camera to carry out her works.
Measuring tape – the officer has requested a measuring tape to carry out her works.
Filing cabinets – the officer has requested two filing cabinets to store files and documents.
AC Unit – The RHO was housed in another office and subsequently move. That office had an AC unit purchased and installed by CH&PA. The office was moved due to lack of space and is currently utilised by the AREO. There was an AC unit in the new room and they were not exchanged.
On 1 November 2016 the AC unit in the new office was damaged. The RHO has a report done by the regional engineer. This unit technically belongs to the region but the REO says he has no funds to fix it.
Recommendation: CH&PA fix this unit and exchange it with the one in the AREO’s office since this unit is the one purchased by CH&PA. This would bring all assets in the region belonging to CH&PA into the same office.
Officer requesting permission to close office to do field visits. Please instruct her on procedures as she says she would like instructions from Georgetown when this is being done. (Andrea Marshal informed the RHO that a field audit for Region 9 is not included in the current field audit exercise being undertaken. Is this so? Please get an explanation from Andrea Marshal what she meant)
Records missing from office – a number of records are missing from the Lethem office as a proper handover procedure was not held. The officer said the computer had no files when it was handed over and the former officer Yvonne Kissoon said she would return a flash drive with documents which she never did. This is a matter for the police and I would like to get the legal officers opinion on the way forward.
Recommendation : a report done on the hand over procedures that was followed and details of what was turned over to the new officer.

Additional issues.

These matters can be sorted out once a field audit exercise is conducted: double allocations, lots for repossessions and identification of squatters.
Lot 406 Tabatinga allocated to Earl Grimmond was recommended for repossession as Mr. Grimmond owns a property in Old Lethem. Similar cases are being looked at by the enforcement dept.
It was reported that David Sugrim of 85 Tabatinga owns a property in Diamond and should not have been allocated the lot in Tabatinga. Enforcement to look into and make a report.
Most core houses are falling apart.
Core House beneficiary Michelle Skeete is the wife of Daniel Gadgie who owns Rupununi Eco Lodge. The live in the lodge and the core house is currently being rented. Michelle Skeete said she was asked to take the core house since enough persons were not taking part in the program. She is willing to give up the house back to CH&PA.
Two core house owners received vouchers for home improvement.
I worked in Region 9 between 2008 and 2010 and applied for a house lot in Lethem. I was allocated lot 703 Culver City in January 2015 for $150,000. Thought I signed my agreement of sale I never received a copy back. No record exists of this transaction in the Lethem office. I paid 50% of lot cost in November 2014.

Humble regards,
Mark Jacobs

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