M&CC pensioners threaten legal action against City Hall

…still waiting on $124M approved disbursement

Retired workers of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) are contemplating legal action against the council for outstanding gratuity and other benefits owed to them dating back to 2015.

Vice President of Pensioners’ Association, Kathy Fowler

Vice President of the Pensioners Association, Kathy Fowler on Wednesday said that the association has been pleading with the M&CC to disburse benefits owed to the pensioners, who would have worked with the municipality for more than 30 years. “There are pensioners that would have served the municipality well. Who would have served for 30 years, 33 years, 35 years. Persons that would have given their youth to the municipality and this is how they are being treated [at] the end of the day,” she said.
Fowler, a member of the Guyana Local Government Union, explained that several attempts were made to retrieve the funds from the council, however, they are being ignored. The association has 35 members, all of whom are still awaiting their retirement benefits after four years.
She added that a meeting was held under the stewardship of the new Mayor, Ubraj Narine, in early January where the Deputy Mayor, Town Clerk (ag), City Treasurer (ag) and Chairman of the Finance Committee also attended to update them on the issue of non-payments, however, no progress was made.
The Mayor and team committed to putting measures in place for the pensioners to receive their benefits and two follow-up meetings were done in January month end and mid-February but to date, nothing has been done.
Fowler said the M&CC had begun paying workers retroactive pay increase on salaries and the pensioners had picketed the exercise. This resulted in them being called to a meeting with the Mayor. She added that the meeting was attended by the Deputy Mayor and a few of the councillors but the Administration had abandoned the meeting. “To date, nobody has called us. Even though the media covered everything. Nobody called us. Nobody had the courtesy to sit with us or to acknowledge us,” she argued.
Fowler disclosed that some of the pensioners attended the M&CC Commission of Inquiry in 2018 and spoke on the issue. She said subsequent to this, recommendations emerging from the CoI revealed that $124 million was given to the Communities Minister, Ronald Bulkan to address the pensioners’ issues.
“Coming out of the CoI, based on the recommendations, the $124 million was given to the Minister of Communities, Mr Bulkan, to address the issues of pensioners’ gratuity, Guyana Public Service Credit Union and the National Insurance Scheme but we got nothing and not a word from them,” she explained.
The money was given to begin to pay the retired pensioners, however, to date, none of them has received the payment.
Fowler warned that they will be making efforts to meet with the Communities Minister soon before moving ahead with legal actions, which they have in the pipeline. “We do have legal actions in progress and we will also try to meet with the Minister before taking those steps,” she said.