THREE People’s National Movement (PNM) councillors and two aldermen at the Sangre Grande Regional Corporation (SGRC) have signed a statement demanding Anil Maharaj's resignation as a councillor.
Maharaj has been charged with misbehaviour in public office. He represents the United National Congress (UNC), which controls the SGRC, in the electoral district of Cumuto/Tamana.
Maharaj bowed to the demands of the PNM councillors and resigned as chairman of the Finance Planning and Allocation of Resources Committee on Tuesday.
However, the PNM representatives said that was an inadequate attempt to pacify the people of the area.
They said the charge directly relates to his position as councillor, as he still holds voting powers in each committee, including the one from which he resigned.
“It is unacceptable that Mr Maharaj continues to act in this position with the opportunity to engage in sensitive matters,” the PNM said, challenging his political leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar and SGRC chairman Anil Juteram to mandate his resignation.
“This is not a tit-for-tat scenario between PNM and UNC. It is simply the right thing to do,” the five said in the statement.
Denying this amounts to “meddling with the UNC’s internal affairs,” the PNM council members said they are simply fighting for the sanctity (sic) of the people they represent and to uphold the integrity of the corporationr.
The PNM members cited former PNM ministers Franklin Khan and Eric Williams resigning after being charged, comparing the situation with former chairman of the Rio Claro/Mayaro Regional Corporation Glen Ram, who was allowed to continue his term, even though he was on bail. The late Khan and Williams were subsequently cleared of the charges against them.
UNC PRO Dr Kirk Meighoo said the UNC is standing in solidarity with Maharaj, pointing out that former PNM chairman Terry Rondon, who signed the statement, did not resign when he was charged with three counts of indecent assault involving a female soldieer assigned to the US Air Force in 2008.