Residents call for better services from Corriverton municipality

Residents of the border town of Corriverton in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) are calling for better services from the municipality.
The concerns were put forward to Local Government and Regional Development Minister Nigel Dharamlall when he visited the municipality on Friday. The municipality has an estimated $22 million in tax collection annually but only collects $12 million.
Worrying to the municipality is the fact that of the 2000 ratepayers, only about 600 pay their required taxes to the municipality.
That is according to Town Clerk Narendra Sukhram.
He told the Minister that one private rice company owes the municipality $20 million in taxes. Additionally, another large entity owes the Corriverton municipality $80 million in taxes.
Asked what arrangements are in place to collect taxes from the 1400 that do not pay, Sukhram said staff from the Council would first issue a notice to the defaulter which would be followed up by a visit. He said legal letters have been sent to some defaulters.
Meanwhile, at the meeting, Minister Dharamlall was told that the Council has not been carrying out its mandate of removing solid waste from the community in a timely manner. According to one resident, the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) undertook a tree trimming project in Corriverton to remove parts of trees that were in contact with live wires.
“GPL cut the limbs and the Town Council refuses to pick it up. I called the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor. Two weeks after the things still on the side of the road,” the resident told Minister Dharamlall.
However, Sukham defended the Council’s position saying that GPL carried out the project without informing the Council. According to Sukram, he penned a letter to GPL inviting the utility company for a meeting to discuss the removal of the tree trimmings.
“They have not responded to me,” Sukhram said.
Nevertheless, the Local Government Minister noted that the municipality has a mandate and should utilise the Community Infrastructure Improvement Project (CIIP) workers to have the road shoulders cleared.
Meanwhile, one resident accused the municipality of charging high rates for some of its rental services being officered noting that the Private Sector offers the same service at much cheaper rates.
Mini excavators are being rented by the Corriverton municipality at a rate of $12,000 per hour and low beds between $10,000 and $20,000 per hour. A tractor and slasher are being rented by the Corriverton municipality for $11,000 per hour.
Skip bins are available for rent at a cost of $5000. This, however, compares with $3000 in New Amsterdam, which is another town in the region.
Meanwhile, addressing the Council, Dharmalall said that things will be done differently under his Ministry so that residents receive the services they deserve.
Following numerous complaints of reluctance by municipal staff to address issues and calling on residents to return on more than one occasion for simple matters, Dharamlall called on Mayor Winston Roberts to read the riot to the staff.  He said they were there to serve.
The visit to the municipality was Dharmalall’s second since taking up the appointment as Local Government Minister in August last year. (Andrew Carmichael)