Excuses for financial state of City Hall

Dear Editor,
I am in ‘shock and awe’ at statements and responses coming out of the Georgetown municipal officials about the appalling state of their finances, which was so factually and eloquently alluded to by the President.
One of the pathetic excuses being proffered is that many of the financial challenges faced by the Council are inherited from previous Town Council administrations.
These ridiculous claims are, first, being made by persons who were there for decades and glibly allowed these transgressions to occur. The youngest child is aware that the Georgetown Municipality has been under the control of one political group since Guyana’s Independence fifty-five years ago. As the Latins would say, ‘CORVUS OCULUM CORVI NON ERUIT’ “a crow will not pull out the eye of another crow.”
Secondly even if bad things were happening before their time, it was their duty to correct them once they took over responsibility.
Equally ridiculous is the claim that M&CC are now trying to ‘catch up’ on a backlog of financial statements, and before they could respond to the concerns raised by the President, those concerns need to be ‘particularised’. Oh, Please! The list is extremely long and well known to most persons.
There are none so blind and so deaf as those who would neither hear nor see. With many documents having been destroyed allegedly through flood damage; with a lot having disappeared allegedly by being misplaced; and with many former Finance Department staffers no longer within reach, ‘catching up’ would be impossible; and they know that. Their hope is probably for the life of this Council to come to an end before the ‘catching up’ occurs.
But with no qualified accounts coming out of the Council in more than fifteen years, an entity that rakes in billions of dollars each year from citizens, it certainly makes the Georgetown Municipality one of the most disreputable agencies in the entire country.
But to make it simple for those who need their discrepancies particularised, let me list just a few to jog their memories.
The scandalous parking meter contract, which still legally hangs over the heads of citizens; the list of fifty five leases illegally entered into by a former municipal official without the knowledge and consent of the Council; the wanton waiver of interest on property rates which the Council does not have the authority to grant; the featherbedding of Council’s human resource base with friends and family, which they continue to do even now, creating a bloated Human Resource Department; the arbitrary placement of persons on the top of salary scales; the farming out of hundreds of millions of dollars in cleaning and other contracts to a few friends, in clear violation of all Tender Board rules; the approval of building plans that violate municipal building codes; the non-remittance of tens of millions deducted from the salaries of employees for GRA, NIS and Unions; and scores of other blatant violations that could be particularised, as they say.
I guess when the auditors are finished doing their work at City Hall, those very persons who are feigning ignorance about the torrid state of Council’s finances would be “heading for the hills” when everything is particularised.

Anu Bihari