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…after accusation of favouritism surfacesThe Regional Democratic Council of Region 8 (Potaro-Siparuni) having been accused of being a political entity controlled by the Coalition Government and of giving contracts to only APNU/AFC supporters, Region 8 Chairman Bonaventure Fredericks told this publication that the regional administration is working to establish a tender board process in an effort to be fair to contractors and thus create a level playing field for all parties.Region Eight ChairmanBonaventure FredericksA section of the community of Madhia, Region 8In a recent interview with Guyana Times, Fredericks related that some residents in the region believe that, because they are supporters of the coalition Government, they should be the only ones benefiting from regional contracts.“What we find is that some residents are saying okay, that PPP was in power one time, and now the coalition is in power, so this is our time. So they are looking at it as (that) they should be getting (all the contracts) because they supported the Coalition. We tried to work it out in a way that both sides will benefit,” he said.According to Fredericks, the new initiative will see a level playing field being created regardless of party support.“Also, what we have to look at is that some of those residents also do not meet the approval of council for contracts, so they decided to go alleging things that they cannot even prove,” he noted.The Regional Chairman also said that for some of the contracts that are being awarded, some contractors’ documents are not up-to-date, and as such, they cannot be approved by the council.“What we have to deal with too is that some of these very persons’ documentations are short of business registration and other important things; so, even though they bid, they cannot be approved because their applications are incomplete, and that is a problem which leads to their bids being rejected,” he explained.Fredericks is, however, optimistic that the new process being undertaken would help to streamline those concerns by residents in regard to the awarding of contracts.Meanwhile, some residents had also accused the regional administration of stifling People’s Progressive Party- owned businesses in the region, thus creating hardships for those business operators. In response to these claims, Chairman Fredericks said he is unaware of any such occurrence, but noted that business has declined in the region overall.“There is not much employment and income coming through in any form. Even bus drivers crying out because business is not like before. So, to boycott any one area or business, I don’t see it like that, because people shop wherever they want to. I don’t really buy this claim too much, because it is not much evident,” he said.The RDC has been accused of awarding contracts only to APNU members and supporters. This has led to the creation of much tension and confrontation in the region. Councillors and residents have, on several occasions, expressed dissatisfaction with the Council’s mechanism in awarding contracts, and have complained bitterly of discrimination against non-APNU supporters.