Cash-strapped city council heading to the bank

A cash-strapped city council is looking at the possibilities of requesting a loan from Republic Bank (Guyana) Limited to fund capital projects in the city.

The projects outlined for the funding would be the purchase of two new Pak-Motor Garbage Trucks, the construction of a four-storey shopping mall at Bourda Green and an extension of the northern section of the Stabroek Market to accommodate vendors selling on the pavement.

The amount of the loan was not disclosed during the continuation of the October 9th statutory meeting on Monday.

At the Finance Committee meeting on October 6, Councillor Junior Garrett objected saying that it was  financial suicide to borrow from the bank. He noted that the council would find it difficult to repay 14% per annum plus running expenses of the council. He believes the council can only afford repaying 8% by issuing municipal bonds.  Garrett pointed out that the council should not consider projects that are high risk.

However, Town Clerk Royston King said the council needs to invest in capital works and the council’s administration had submitted proposals and artistic impressions of the buildings.

The council has since approved the request in principle, and has asked for financial proposals to be submitted to the council for consideration, and for the Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan to be informed of the council’s plans.

Over the years the city has been battling with providing space for vendors to sell. Efforts have been made in the past to remove vendors from the pavements and street corners in the city, but this has not been successful.

In addition, due to the lack of funds, work on the $240 million Kitty Market restoration was halted. Resources from the project were diverted to the rehabilitation of the Albouystown Health Centre.

Garbage disposal companies Cevons Waste Manage-ment and Puran Brothers Disposal Inc. were forced to suspend their collection services to the city due to outstanding payments of over $300 million. As a result, the council took over the collection of waste in the city and contracted three small companies to assist.

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