Both men made the shocking announcement during the monthly statutory meeting at the corporation’s High Street, Rio Claro office. In a two-page letter addressed to PNM general secretary Martin Joseph dated April 22, Ottley — the representative for Cocal/Mafeking identified several factors for his sudden resignation saying, “these factors present a huge blockage to me in my endeavor to properly serve the people of my community.”
“You are also aware Sir, that there were in the not-too-distant-past, verbal directives given by you to members of my council to ensure that absolute control of the corporation remained in the hands of the United National Congress,” Ottley wrote in the letter, a copy of which Newsday obtained.
“That decision caused a major setback in the implementation process of several projects that were supposed to be undertaken for the wholesome delivery of goods and services to the greater population of the Mayaro constituency. “You offered no apology to members of the council or to all the PNM members of the various party groups and in the wider context, to the people of Mayaro. It is inconceivable and baffling now to accept the position that you are totally against the concept of groups and people coming together in the political battlefield for a better tomorrow for the citizens of our country.
“Such erratic behaviour on the part of the leadership of this (PNM) party has led me to conclude that there is quite a lot of delusion in the minds of my leaders,” Ottley wrote in his resignation letter to Joseph, who is also the National Security Minister.
Ottley also expressed concern over “wild, uncontrolled spending” of public resources in several projects throughout the country, “without any accountability and transparency.”
“In addition to which I have looked on with horror at the enormous amount of our tax dollars that have been squandered over the last few years and precious little to show in the area of industry diversification and sustainable economic growth in my community.”
Ottley reportedly told the corporation that no further deduction from his salary should be forwarded to the PNM given his resignation which takes place “with immediate effect”.
Corporation chairman Ramlochan Panchoo confirmed Ottley’s resignation saying, “the winds of change” had began to affect members of the PNM. “This just goes to show that everyone, including members of the ruling party, are crying out for change,” Panchoo said.
Speaking yesterday at his Mayaro home, Dhansook, the representative for Ecclesville, said he joined the PNM at the invitation of former PNM chairman Franklyn Khan. Dhansook reinforced Ottley’s claim that the PNM wanted that corporation to remain in UNC control following the extension of the Local Government bodies in 2009.
Dhansook also signalled his intention to contest the Mayaro constituency as an Independent candidate in the May 24 snap General Election. “I want to bring Mayaro back to a son of the soil. I was born and bred here,” he said. Dhansook is going up against the PNM’s candidate, Clifford Campbell and the area’s former MP, the UNC’s Winston Peters. He also questioned Prime Minister Patrick Manning’s decision to go back to the polls while possessing an 11 seat majority in the Parliament. “It just does not make any sense to me,” he said.
A Local Government Ministry source stated there was nothing to prevent Ottley and Dhansook from representing their respective electoral districts as Independent councillors. As for the structure of the corporation, which now has an equation of three UNC councillors, one PNM councillor and two independent councillors, the official said the resignations did not affect its operations. Efforts to contact Joseph, PNM chairman Conrad Enill and Local Government Minister Hazel Manning for comment yesterday proved futile.