Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green said that he is yet to meet the Local Government Minister as planned to discuss the findings of the Commission of Inquiry conducted by Keith Burrowes.
The mayor said Minister of Local Government Kellawan Lall had written to him indicating his willingness to establish an Implementation Committee which will serve as an advisory body both to the ministry and the municipality. The committee is expected to help in the implementation of some of the recommendations of the report. According to the mayor, this Implementation Committee will be working on issues relating to financial regulations, adjusting financial systems, writing off of unverified balances and needs assistance of human resources.
The committee is expected to consist of about seven members from various institutions including two people from the Council.
The mayor was asked to nominate two persons to serve on this committee by September 15.
However, Green said he has not named these nominees and has communicated to the minister that the council should have more representatives on this committee. The mayor said he had no problems with the Commissioner’s report, and in spite of his initial reservations, he recognizes the professionalism in the document.
Meanwhile, Green says that the recent announcement made by President Bharrat Jagdeo that he is in favour of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to take over City Hall, is yet another attempt by the administration to deliberately sabotage the work of the City Council.
During a press conference last week at State House, Jagdeo indicated his support for an IMC for City Hall, and said that if the PNCR leader Robert Corbin would agree to an IMC for Georgetown, this can be put in place “tomorrow”.
Speaking with Stabroek News at his office on Tuesday, Green said that the President’s statement is the latest of several attacks to stymie the work of the Municipality. He accused the PPP/C administration of deliberately trying to sabotage the City Council by its reluctance support any attempt by the council to broaden its revenue base. He said that every effort the council has proposed to increase its revenue base over the year has been vetoed by the government. According to him, the latest proposal by the Council to raise revenue was to convert the waste at Le Repentir Landfill site into energy.
He said that other proposals such as a lottery, the introduction of container tax, the parking meter project and a project of environmental tax were all denied, while the call for an effective property valuation has been delayed.
Green said he believed the government has set out to punish the people of Georgetown for not electing the PPP/C to manage the city at the 1994 Local Government Election. He stated that prior to these elections there was an IMC in operation which was given tremendous financial support by the administration. However, Green said that since then the government has frustrated every attempt made by the council to win its approval in broadening its revenue base.
Green also accused the government of being dictatorial in its recent payment of $41 million in rates and taxes. According to him, this sum of money was money owed to the council and now that it is paid “they are dictating how the money is to be spent,” he declared.