Chaos In the RAAS Government

Gregory Lewin

January 24-2004-Bluefields, RAAS-Once again the governor of the South Atlantic Autonomous Region on Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, Mr. Guy Cox, is facing impeachment hearings. Ironically, Rev. Rayfield Hodgson, acting president of the regional council in the RAAS, heads the hearings.

This time around the people are not sitting quiet; they are heading to the streets in support of Governor Cox.  In a telephone conversation today with the governor, he stated that he has asked for reasons why Rayfield Hodgson wants him ousted. The only reason given was that he, the governor, is not “party disciplined.”

I asked the governor what Mr. Hodgson meant by that, and he said he didn’t know because he repeatedly asked him if he has stolen any money or done anything illegal. The answer was no.

The governor believes Rayfield Hodgson is doing this because of disagreements between the two on the prospective sales of some communal properties.  According to Gov. Cox, Rayfield Hodgson has been negotiating the sale of 50,000 acres of communal properties in Tasba Pauni and Wawashan without his authorization with some American businessmen who reside in Costa Rica (perhaps these were the Caribbean coast citizens he met on his recent visit to the US). He said the properties would have been sold for $15.00 an acre of which Rayfield Hodgson would have received 20% per acre. He also stated that Mr. Hodgson also has tried to bargain the Caribbean coast forest, seafood, and oil. The governor avowed that as long as he is governor; he won’t allow any illegal activities on his watch.

Governor Cox acknowledged that when he became aware of what Rayfield Hodgson was doing, he immediately drafted a letter informing the potential buyers that whatever negotiations took place between them and Rayfield ware illegal and null.  He also declared that 24 votes were needed to remove him from his position, but as far as he could tell, the counsel counted 23 of which 3 promised to abstain.

In the end, Rayfield Hodgson failed to convene a quorum and fell short of the 24 votes. The governor immediately approached him and asked to vote on the issue of the regional council presidency to which he immediately opposed. Instead, he called session to elect the first vice- president’s position and not the president’s. Based on the Autonomy Law and the regional internal bylaws, if the regional council president resigns (in this case Francisco Flores); then, the first vice-president automatically assumes the role of president until election is held to fill the vacancy.

This motion caused the council members of the Sandinista party to walk out. “As it stands, Rayfield Hodgson is still the acting regional council president until an election is held to remove him permanently, not only from the presidency, but from politics completely,” said one council member.

Governor Cox clearly stated that he is clean and will remain clean of corruption. He said that he works with and for the people of the communities and will not allow Rayfield Hodgson, who has been named in many government probes for fraud during the years he served as governor, to do as he pleases.  The citizens who attended the session erupted in joy and carried the governor out the building on their shoulders. They marched around Bluefields in a peaceful manner shouting slogans like:

“Guy today, tomorrow and for Ever”

 “Caiga quien caiga, duele a quien duele”

 “Where is the governor? In front!”

“Black people made history today”

“The community came out to show their support and solidarity for the governor,” stated council member Mark Narcisso. The people are tired of the devil (Rayfield Hodgson) trying to manipulate our region.

Governor Guy Cox thanks all who called him from abroad to offer their full support, and he stressed that he needs the support of the community at home and abroad.

Photo: courtesy of Yadira Flores/END



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