Residents of the La Grange/Nismes local authority area are being urged to pay their rates and taxes or face legal action.
This warning was issued by chairman of the La Grange/Nismes Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), Isaac Bhagwandin, who told Stabroek News in an interview that a high percentage of rate payers are delinquent. Bhagwandin was elected chairman during the recently held local government elections, having held the same post previously.
The official said while the previous administration sought to offer some relief to rate payers, the time has come for persons to pay their required dues if development of Bagotville, La Grange and Nismes is to take place. Persons neglecting to pay will face the full force of the law, he warned.
According to the NDC chairman, development works including road construction and drainage programmes will be hindered unless residents pay the rates and taxes due. He said that properties which are not yet registered will be registered shortly.
Bhagwandin expressed regret that only 50% of the proposed roads for the three villages have been completed. Plans are afoot to correct this, he said, while adding that this would be sped up once rate payers pay the money owed to the NDC.
In speaking of plans for the next three years, Bhagwandin highlighted drainage plans which the NDC is going to undertake in the near future. He said that with the imminent closure of the Wales sugar estate, there is the likelihood of a significant amount of farmers resorting to rice farming in the future. He said there is the likelihood that the NDC will have to adjust its drainage plans to ensure the entry of water from the backlands into the village to facilitate rice farming.
He pointed out that a small percentage of persons are growing rice while a significant number had converted their farms to cane farming.
Asked whether cane farmers in the area would take their canes to the Uitvlugt sugar estate for processing, the chairman expressed doubts and said transporting the canes to Uitvlugt would be costly. He said that within recent times, even having their canes processed at the Wales sugar factory was proving too costly for farmers.
Further, Bhagwandin pointed out that over the last few months, the price of sugarcane has dropped from $170 per tonne to about $58 per tonne. He said that politics aside, the reality is that sugar manufacturing has become costly and the closure of the Wales estate as a processing point is a consequence of this development.
Meantime, Bhagwandin was quick to point out that the Sir David Rose Street, bridge and canal are receiving the attention of the NDC and repairs are being done.
Further, the chairman said that the parapets and road shoulders are being repaired and he called on owners of derelict vehicles abandoned on the roadside to remove them as soon as possible.
He also urged residents to desist from taking their animals to graze on the roadsides.
Apart from creating a disgraceful sight, he said, this is against the NDC’s move to create healthy looking parapets and road shoulders.
He also highlighted that to date, the budget for the NDC has not been approved and this is impeding the work of the NDC.