BY INDRAWATTIE NATRAMScores of drainage cleaners of Region Two (Pomeroon/Supenaam) Administration are still owed for work done and this is having a negative effect on their families and livelihood.A trench at Golden Fleece in Region TwoDrainage cleaners reported that they are owed for almost three months for the trenches they would have already cleaned and according to Region Two Regional Executive Officer, Rupert Hopkinson, all vouchers that were on his desk were signed.Those who spoke with Guyana Times related that they depend on the money to sustain their families and often when inquiries are made at the administrative level concerning payments they are being “pushed” around. The cleaners related that they are constantly faced with the issue and often have to incur additional expenses to travel back and forth to Anna Regina to solicit information.Expressing their frustration, since there is a lack of communication when actual payments would be made, and often the information filtered down is misleading.The issue of drainage cleaning was also raised at the recent Regional Democratic Council statutory meeting on 12 July, where the councillors were informed by Regional Chairman Devanand Ramdatt that numerous cleaners are still owed.Ramdatt said regularly the cleaners have been complaining about the non-payments and this is a recurring issue. He therefore asked the REO, Hopkinson, to comment since he is the accounting officer.In responding, Hopkinson said there is not an instance where vouchers are lying on his desk unsigned and alleged that most times the vouchers do not meet him. He said whenever vouchers are brought before him, he carefully verifies and then signs. He also said that the tendering process has become easier, once the works are approved then his signature is given, outlining that he is clueless why the issue of non-payment still exists among contractors.He also said that he has discovered that officers of the administration are seemingly hiding vouchers, thus frustrating the system. He also alleged that there are several discrepancies whereby drainage cleaners are paid and the trenches are not cleaned, describing the act as fraudulent.At that point, chairman Ramdatt said if they have staff in the system that are misleading them, then the REO is in a position to take disciplinary actions against them. He also instructed the REO to ensure that trenches are inspected before payments are made, to ensure proper accountability.The A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) councillor Naithram said that the non-payment of drainage cleaners has been raised numerous times at the RDC and there are often slow reactions. He said he cannot see why Head of Departments within the Administration are playing “blame games” and explained that the REO is in charge and should be responsible, adding that he cannot understand why the vouchers are not being processed in a timely manner.He commented that the process is frustrating others while families are suffering. The councillor said that during his visit to several backdams last weekend he observed that trenches were not cleaned according to specifications and called for closer monitoring from rangers, engineer and overseers.Drainage cleaners are paid $35 per rod.