Mayor again lambastes gov’t over city cash crunch -another strike looms

Mayor Hamilton Green has again placed the blame for the cash-strapped situation that the city is facing solely at the feet of the Central Govern-ment, stressing that the council is being prevented from broadening its revenue base.

This comes at a time when another strike by workers and contractors is looming, after the $643M-indebted council failed to pay salaries and other outstanding sums for October.

All city work could come to a halt tomorrow and remain at standstill until the workers receive their salaries.

Earlier this month Green in a letter reminded the Minister of Local Government and Regional Development Kellawan Lall of a meeting that was earlier requested by Town Clerk Beulah Williams to urgently raise issues affecting the council but to date there has been no acknowledgement of the request by the minister.

Williams in her letter to Lall, dated August 21, 2007, stated that the council had requested consideration of a new ticket system for offenders and new revenue sources among other things.

Williams had also requested consideration of the memorandum dated July 4 this year, which was authored by her and circulated to all councillors, seeking improved relations between the Mayor, councillors and the administration and representation on Boards that have some relationship to the responsibilities of the City. These would include the Central Housing and Planning Authority, the Guyana Water Incorporated, the Ratings Appeal Panel, the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana and the National Commission on Law and Order.

A 1999 letter also made available to this newspaper stated that a decision was made at a statutory meeting held in December that year calling for an urgent meeting to be held with the government to discuss several proposals made to improve the viability of the city. These proposals were for a container tax, fuel tax, a percentage of registration or license fees for vehicles, transfer of some portion of the environmental tax to the City Council, municipal parking arrangements, and establishment of a port authority, a municipal lottery and the construction of a crematorium.

To date, the council has not been given the opportunity to air their views even though several requests for meetings have been made.

Green at a press conference held on Friday at City Hall publicly apologized to the affected workers and citizens of Georgetown for the present situation but Town Clerk Beulah Williams could not say when the workers will receive their monies.

Green told the media that for the past two months workers have not been in receipt of their salaries. “This is an unsatisfactory situation

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