In an attempt to get the monkey that is the previous council’s debt off its back the Linden Town Council has applied to the Ministry of Communities for a bailout of $200 million.
Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland told Stabroek News on Friday that while he was not sure he could blame the previous council for accruing the debt, the present council cannot effectively perform its duties until it is cleared.
“We owe the electricity companies in Linden, both of them; we owe the Guyana Revenue Authority; we owe the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and we owe the workers for their gratuity as well as other persons,” Holland explained.
According to Holland the revenue being earned by the council is not enough to service the debt, hence the need for government intervention.
“I believe Linden deserves this because we have been through a lot in the past and right now even if we get five or six projects… like the tollbooth to help us it will still take us two to three years to pay off that debt. In the meantime we have persons who came off their job and are looking for their gratuity to survive, looking for their NIS to help with their health conditions and they can’t get it,” he said. The Mayor has revealed that auditors from the Ministry of Communities are currently trying to ascertain how these debts accumulated, an activity which might see several implicated.
In the interim, the council dispatched a letter to Minister Ronald Bulkan on Thursday as part of its lobby for the bailout.
This is the second town council to approach the ministry for assistance. The Mayor and Councillors of Georgetown made a similar request for $600 million last week. Minister Bulkan said then that he needed more information about the financial situation and plans for the city before he would be willing to table their request at Cabinet. He also noted that he did not believe Cabinet would be positively disposed towards such a request at this time.