September 25, 2012
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Amandala newspaper for giving the concerns of the people of Placencia Peninsula a national voice.
I would like, however, to address and clarify to the people of Placencia a statement that was paraphrased by Mr. Humes on the statement made by former Minister Melvin Hulse, in an article in the September 23, 2012 issue of the Amandala – The Peninsula rises: “Noh tek wi wata!” – on page 22 (continued from page 21) and paragraph 5 of that page.
The statement says, “He contended that Charles Leslie, as an ex-officio member of the Placencia Water Board, which is independently appointed by Government, and as chairman of the village, never missed a meeting in respect to this issue and therefore ‘must have been aware’ of what was going on and for him to suggest otherwise is ‘being disingenuous.’”
I would like to state that indeed I attended every meeting held concerning the proposed Placencia Peninsula Sewage System. The very first meeting I attended was held at the Robert’s Grove Conference Room on July 27, 2010.
However, former Minister Hulse’s statement, “must have been aware” is an assumption on his part, that I must have been aware of Cabinet’s decision in August of 2010. Anyone in Government and any business person will tell you that one should not make assumptions. He is assuming that I attended every meeting, and assuming that at any of those meetings, the Cabinet decision of August 2010 was told to me and other local Placencia Peninsula representatives from Placencia and Seine Bight Village Councils and Water Boards, which at least one member from each was always present.
To reiterate, at every meeting I was invited to and attended, inclusive of the July 27, 2010 meeting and thereafter, there were always other representatives from Placencia and Seine Bight Village Councils and Water Boards. Thus, his statement could also imply that not only I, but other officials from both Placencia and Seine Bight Village “must have been aware.” Former Minister Hulse’s statement is fallacious and presumptuous.
To make it clear to the people of Placencia, at no moment after Cabinet’s decision in August 2010 to delegate the management of water and wastewater services in Placencia to BWSL, was I ever informed in any official capacity that such a decision was made. The Placencia and Seine Bight Village Councils and Water Board members have no recollection that any such information was released to any of us in any official capacity – that is, no official letter was ever sent in hard copy or digitally.
I would also like to make it clear to the people of Placencia that I did not/do not sit in the Cabinet, the Senate or Parliament. If there was anyone to have been privy to this very pertinent Cabinet Decision in 2010, and whose duty it would have been to disseminate that information in an official capacity to Placencia Peninsula local officials and residents, it would have been the former Stann Creek West area representative.
What is disingenuous is the fact that a Cabinet decision was made in August 2010, and we were never officially informed. Even after several inquiries, we were always assured that there were no intentions of taking over the water boards by BWSL, and that no decision was made.
We were told that GOB were only going through the protocol process of having public consultations, meetings with Village Council and Water Board Members to flesh out details, plans, etc. Why would Government officials continue to tell us that no such decision was made, when in reality it was? Isn’t that in actuality, disingenuous?
I now take this opportunity to commend Minister Godwin Hulse and Minister Santiago Castillo, Jr. I appreciate Minister Hulse’s clarification that it was a different Cabinet. I have been chairperson of Placencia Village, a member of Stann Creek DAVCO and NAVCO for almost 3 years, and never had the privilege of meeting the former Minister of Local Government; however, I have already met with Minister Hulse on at least half dozen times on various matters, and he has always been helpful.
I have great respect for Minister Hulse and Minister Castillo, and I do believe that you gentlemen want to make sure that the good people of Placencia Peninsula are not going to be disenfranchised in any manner and under any guise.
In conclusion, I believe it is healthy and wise to state historical facts, but not regurgitate it beyond what is necessary, and in this case, that is to acknowledge mistakes that were made by GOB (intentional or not), and move forward progressively, decisively and fairly.
I would like to encourage the people of Placencia to continue to be vigilant and pro-active on this matter. Passive support is the child of inaction, and inaction is the catalyst to being taken advantage of.
(P.S. We should also acknowledge that GOB should not pose as giving back to the people, and it turns out to only be for electioneering posture and/or a sleight-of-hand tactic for disenfranchisement. Remember, that it is the taxpayers of a country that ultimately pay for everything that is done by the government – the homeless child who can only buy a hot dog every other day, pays taxes on that hot dog.)
Yours in service,
Charles B. Leslie, Jr.
Chairperson of Placencia Village
Always: Placencia Proud