City budget delayed

- hiring private security, repairs to rotted abattoir discussed

The presentation of the city’s budget which was expected to be done at yesterday’s statutory meeting was postponed to Wednesday during a special meeting among councillors; once approved, the budget will be presented to the public on Friday.

On the agenda during the meeting at City Hall yesterday was the hiring of a private security firm, though the Mayor & City Council currently owes another company. This caused some dispute among attendees with Councillor Junior Garrett specifically asking about the impact without the services of private security. In response, Chief Constable, Andrew Foo, indicated that the Constabulary would be unable to carry out its duties owing to constraints within.

“We want to employ another security firm… Where are we getting the money from? We already owe a security company… Any employment of any security firm has to go through public tendering,” Garrett, who is head of the Finance Committee, firmly stated.

Offering a differing opinion, Councillor Ranwell Jordan said that hiring the private company should be considered if effective policing is desired.

“The fact that we no longer have a security firm carrying out specific tasks means that we had to deploy ranks from the constabulary for these duties. We call on the constabulary to ensure that there is no dumping and other laws are upheld in the city but how can they do that if their numbers are depleted and they now have to look at security,” Jordan questioned.

Mayor Hamilton Green then intervened and noted that the issue must be seen in a wider context, pointing out that the constabulary ranks are unequipped and the council is unable to hire a private company, specifically because money is owed to another.

Also addressed was the issue of deplorable conditions at the abattoir. According to Councillor Lovell, the stalls in which animals are kept before being slaughtered are in a dreadful state and the rails are rotting.

“If there is a stampede between animals in there lives will be lost and damage to property will be caused,” she noted. Lovell suggested that the matter be given urgent attention.

Town Clerk Yonette Pluck-Cort then revealed that the Chief Meat and Food Inspector had previously asked for work to be done on the abattoir but due to a delay of the voucher, plans for this work had been stalled. However, she said, rehabilitation work to the abattoir is expected to begin today.

Green pointed out that not only should the peripheral parts be dealt with but all factors affecting the proper function of the abattoir, including the floor and roof, should be addressed.

He further inquired if the voucher had catered for repairs to these parts as well but Pluck-Cort did not offer a response.

Interjecting, Councillor Gwen McGowan announced that for the month of January, the abattoir earned a whopping $2.4 million, further suggesting that management of this facility can independently handle the cost of its repairs. The mayor responded that that was irrelevant.

Garnett added that McGowan’s statement about the abattoir making $2.4 million was untrue. She then declared that “millions are made monthly and we need to go through the documents”. She suggested that the relevant documents be brought to council.

Previous to this discussion, Councillor Kamla Devi-Ross inquired whether the vendors situated in front of the Stabroek Market had been removed.

The mayor indicated that he assumed the removal operation was successful and Pluck-Cort confirmed that the activity was carried out and the vendors have been removed.

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