Municipal workers in Linden took to the streets on Monday following a sit-in last Friday and they are calling for better and timely payments of wages and salaries, the disbanding of the Interim Management Committee and the withdrawal of the suspension letter issued to the Town Clerk.
And hundreds of residents have signed a petition which was delivered to the Local Government Ministry and PNCR Leader Robert Corbin, among others.
Meanwhile, both municipal markets at Wismar and Mackenzie remain closed at great inconvenience to residents and at great financial loss to stallholders.
In the meantime, garbage has been piling up in all corners of the town.
At a meeting with Chief Labour Officer Yoganand Persaud last week Tuesday in Georgetown, it was agreed that the workers would have resumed duties on Thursday and the council would have paid salaries that were due the same day.
“We are calling on the leadership of all three political parties which hold seats on the RDC to intervene immediately to address this matter and bring about a solution even if it means the removal of the
IMC and the installation of a new one,” said one resident and stallholder in the Mackenzie Market.
A visit to both markets revealed the plight of vendors. With the locks in place on all the large metal doors, several vendors waited in vain for the town constables to show up and allow them in.
“I have had tremendous losses – I was sewing for a graduation last week and all my stuff were locked in there, I begged really hard but no one came to open so I could do my job,” said another vendor who was almost in tears. The story was the same for almost all the other stallholders.
“Since they been on strike we had blackout, I don’t know what happen to my perishables in there,” said another stallholder.
A few stallholders decided to erect structures at the front of the markets to sell their snacks but said that they too were greatly inconvenienced.
Contacted yesterday Regional Chairman Mortimer Mingo said that the RDC has taken note of the situation which exists in the municipality and they are concerned that the M&TC has not been carrying out their mandate to the taxpayers of the town by providing goods and services as is required of them. “We have noted the unhealthy state of the town with the piling up of garbage which is most pronounced in the business circle of the town. This has been occasioned by the withdrawal of the services of the employees from the head of the administration which also includes the security arm,” said Mingo.
He noted that the RDC at the request of the council had intervened and assisted with the collection of garbage in the business circle last week by making available its Bobcat.
“One of the issues I understand was the nonpayment of workers’ wages by the council and the RDC was most heartened when we learnt that on Tuesday the council put the necessary arrangement in place for the employees to be paid their wages that was due to them since as we understand it that was one of the bones of contention by the workers . . .” However, he added, the RDC is at a loss to know why the employees of the council are still withholding their services.
However, on enquiring Mingo said he had been informed that the administration of the M&TC was making demands that they needed transportation to take the cheque to the bank so that workers can be paid. “Note that the bank is less than 100 meters away from the M&TC,” Mingo remarked.
A number of vendors of Wismar market approached Regional Vice Chairman Samuel Hooper seeking his intervention to have the market opened. This was conveyed to Mingo who made contact with chief constable and enquired about the closure, and was told that he had received no instructions to open the market.
Contact was also made with Town Clerk Patrick Innis who informed that the markets could not be opened because there were no personnel to do so. IMC chairman Orin Gordon was also summoned and was informed that the council had done all that was necessary for the workers to be paid and it was the administration’s responsibility to have the markets opened.
Mingo said that his attempts to engage the Ministry of Local Government proved futile but contact was made with Head of the Presidential Secretariat Dr Roger Luncheon who expressed concern and gave assurances that he would get the relevant local government personnel and head of the workers union to bring about a speedy resolution.