…RDC paying students, but not guaranteed their return — Regional ChairA number of persons who have been “released” by the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) of Region One (Barima-Waini) to attend tertiary institutions across the country may not be returning to their communities to serve since their contractual agreements are now in question.Regional Chairman of Region One Brentnol AshleyThis is according to Regional Chairman of that Region, Brentnol Ashley, who told Guyana Times that outside of the contracts these persons would have signed with respective ministries in Government, they also sign one with the RDC.He added that some of the individuals are being victimised and are not receiving the support that they need to complete their studies.“Persons attending tertiary institutions such as the University of Guyana (UG) and, for instance, the various nursing schools across Guyana, the RDC decides a contractual agreement which these trainees or these persons who are granted with the regional release or the regional scholarship. In some cases, some of these programmes in the RDC are not honouring the obligations that have been placed by the RDC to assist and in a sense assure that those students will be returning”.According to Ashley, these beneficiaries are expected to return to serve in their communities as per the contractual agreement, but that at present, the situation is unpredictable since there is not much assurance that they will indeed return.“They are also expected that once they are going to be paid by the RDC for the time that they will be on training, to sign a regional contract in a regional context giving us the guarantee that when they finish, they will return. We are not getting the opportunity for the programme heads, inclusive of the Regional Executive Officer, to answer to the Council as to why they are undermining or superseding the decisions of the RDC in implementing their own decisions as against what the official decision makers are making”.Meanwhile, while touching on the issue of education within Region One, the Regional Chairman highlighted that although schools would have been officially closed for some three weeks, no developmental work has commenced.This, he noted, is worrying since such a period should be used to address infrastructural advancements at certain schools to avoid affecting students during their classroom hours.“Not a single school has commenced renovation, or even rehabilitation to those major schools, Waramadong, Port Kaituma Primary, Port Kaituma Secondary. Those are the areas that should be focused on in these two months because what I see, what we are in the view of, is that the administration of the region, the Regional administration would wait until September when school reopens and then want to disrupt the school”.Just a few days ago, Ashley had cited that the standstill in Region One and the hold up of crucial projects are by no means the fault of the RDC, but that the blame should be placed solely on the shoulders of the REO, Randolph Storm.“The REO is doing everything else except the job he needs to do pertaining to the implementation of the Region’s budget. We have not had a sitting of the RDC since April. The REO behaves as though as if he is not answerable to the RC or the councillors of the RDC. This has been causing problems as it relates to the administration of the region, causing problems to the implementation of the regional budget in certain aspects”.