President David Granger yesterday convened a meeting at the Ministry of the Presidency with representatives from Central Government, the Georgetown Mayor and City Council and the Private Sector during which it was agreed that a joint committee would be created.
A release from the Ministry of the Presidency said that the committee is to be established within the next seven days. The city and the private sector have been at odds over several issues in recent months including the proposed parking meters, fees for containers, use of roads by heavy-duty equipment and large sums of rates and taxes outstanding.
The release said that the joint body will be supported and facilitated by Central Government through the Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan and is expected to ensure greater cooperation and collaboration on matters affecting the City.
Present at the meeting were Bulkan; Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin; Mayor of Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Green; Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, Oscar Clarke; Councillor Alfred Mentore; former Chairman of the Private Sector Commission, Ramesh Persaud; Vice President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Vishnu Doerga and Christopher Fernandes, former Chief Executive Officer of John Fernandes Limited.
The release reported that the President said during the meeting that while he will not dictate to the Council, it is vital that these agencies work together for the good of the Capital City.
Bulkan was reported as saying that the administration welcomes the efforts and interest of the private sector to collaborate with the municipality and central government.
“Money is important and whatever revenue garnering measures are being contemplated and anticipated, will require significant involvement at the level of central government, both in terms of identification as well as instituting and implementing so I think that today’s meeting is very important in the sense that it signals agreement and acceptance of these, the major stakeholders, but what is required, is collaborative and cooperative approach as opposed to any confrontation and it is only in that way that we can ensure that the level of efficiency that is needed to manage the city.
It requires the efforts and inputs of all of us,” he said.
Chase-Green said that the decision by the President will help to put the relationship between the council and the private sector on a more stable footing.
“I am happy that the meeting was held this morning with the President to iron out some of the issues that we have concerning the City of Georgetown. The Committee that will be set up is one more or less that the President has put the concrete in because the Council and Private Sector Commission have been meeting before.
We have been trying to work together and of course, it will take some time for us to get to that one common understanding…but the Committee that will be set up will work hand in hand, all for the better of the community,” she said.
Persaud voiced thanks to the President for convening the meeting and for endorsing the need for dialogue between the business community and the city.