Home Letters There are more questions than answers at City Hall
I find it most perplexing as a rate-paying and law-abiding citizen of Georgetown as to how the Mayor and Councillors of the city of Georgetown are allowed to get away with completely ignoring, and honouring in the breach so many laws of this country whilst thumbing their noses at the authorities and citizens, doing so, for such a long time.
For years now, the relevant authorities including the Local Government Commission have been requesting that the Georgetown Municipality provide them with their asset register, for which they have obdurately refused to provide. Why is this? Do they no longer have any assets to which they could create a register? Is everything gone? My question would be, what are the relevant officers/departments who are responsible for the preparation of such a document doing? The Council has a full Internal Audit Department chock full with highly paid officers. Is it not their job to create this register and prepare the Council’s accounts for external auditing? But they do no such thing. In fact, one has to wonder what they do. And what about the City Treasurer’s Department, why are they not participating in the creation of an asset register? So why is no one at the Council being sanctioned for the absence of something as important as an asset register all this while?
Year after year the Georgetown Municipality has been deducting from their nearly one thousand strong workforce, pay as you earn (PAYE) taxes but fail to remit them in a timely manner, the same with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions resulting in hundreds of employees being denied medical benefits. They deduct Credit Union dues and loan repayments and do not remit them, resulting in employees being penalised. Why are the relevant authorities not taking stern action against the Council for such dreadful neglect? Had this been a private entity they would have been hauled before the courts and sanctioned.
Former employees have to wait for years to receive the pensions and gratuities which they worked hard and long for and to which they are entitled whilst current employees, particularly those new sinecures, are drawing down their super salaries without having to stir their stumps as they say. Could this be fair and just?
I would like to know how the National Trust of Guyana, the Guyana Historical Society, the tourism bodies etc could have remained quiet and allowed the Georgetown Municipality to sit idly by whilst the world-famous heritage building “The City Hall’ deteriorated to the state it is in today. It is culturally barbaric; it is reckless and it is unacceptable that for decades Councillors and Administrators of the city just occupied the building without expending a cent on repairs or maintenance of this nineteenth-century Gothic Revival building. And no one has been sanctioned, instead they are being rewarded with Central Government picking up the tab for what will be needed to save the building from collapsing.
There are so many things the citizens shall never understand, such as the illegal parking meter fiasco that just slowly died away without anyone being sanctioned, the inhumane slaughtering of animals when someone made a mess of purchasing captive bolt pistols, the collapse of the Stabroek Market wharf which to date remains a death trap, the continuation of engaging expensive garbage contractors instead of the city purchasing its own refuse trucks and the city going back to refuse collection itself, the continued poor sanitation of the wet municipal markets around the city that are rat infested, hardly cleaned, poorly lit and whose customers are prone to robberies, the closure of the day care centres without good reason or proper notice brought much hardship on many working mothers in the city, the abdication of the City Constabulary to provide service and protection in the city, the transformation of the Le Repentir Cemetery into a jungle and wildlife reserve and the creation of a monstrosity between Church Street and North Road close to Vlissengen Road referred to as a ‘Presidential Park’.
How is the City Council in the midst of a pandemic allowed to have heaps of garbage around the city, particularly near to municipal markets?
There are more questions than answers at City Hall.