In bid to pay municipal staff their October salaries, acting Mayor Lionel Jaikarran and acting Town Clerk Sharon Harry-Munroe of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) yesterday accepted a cheque for over $7 million from a delinquent ratepayer, after waiving $19 million in interest.
Before the conclusion of yesterday’s statutory council meeting, Jaikarran announced that he had received a cheque for $7,511,130, from the lawyer of an unidentified business.
According to Jaikarran he was able to “solicit the funds for the M&CC” after speaking to the acting town Clerk and receiving her approval to facilitate the waiver.
The announcement came after city workers protested for their October wages during a picket earlier in the day.
Jaikarran stated that he was happy to hand over the cheque to the M&CC administration since workers will be paid. He noted that many staff members had complained to him about the hardships they faced after not being paid. “It is hard when you live pay cheque to pay cheque. Those who know it, feel it. My empathy goes out to each and every member of the staff. I saw them in front of City Hall [today] and my heart broke for them,” he said.
“It is my sincere hope, Madame Town Clerk, when I hand you this cheque, the first order of business would be to see that the staff is remunerated for their services,” the acting Mayor said as he passed the cheque over to Harry-Munroe.
In commending the Deputy Mayor for his intervention, Councillor Junior Garrett stated that “payments have been delayed all the time because of our financial situation.” He noted that while they had to waive the interest, the council needed the money.
Garrett, who is a member of the finance committee, called on his fellow councillors to bring in rate payers to settle their debts with the council in order to prevent a repeat of non-payment in November and December.
Meanwhile, staff members are not the only ones who are suffering as a result of non-payment. APNU Councillor Heston Bostwick complained to the council that he has not been able to cash a cheque from the M&CC. The cheque for the payment of $150,000 was for remuneration for his service on the parking meter negotiating committee. A visibly-upset Bostwick threatened to tender his resignation since the administration showed no respect to elected officials on the council.
After listening to a frustrated Bostwick, the acting Mayor asked the acting Town Clerk to ensure the councillor is paid.
Early last month, workers employed by the M&CC were paid for their services rendered in September, after they protested. However, when it came time for these workers to be paid for October, no payments were made.
The city administration is claiming that it needs $4 billion in owed rates to fulfill its responsibilities to its staff.
During the statutory meeting yesterday, it was announced that an Extra-Ordinary Statutory Meeting would be held today to discuss the city’s financial situation. This Extra-Ordinary Statutory Meeting would be chaired by Mayor Patricia Chase-Green.
Also on the agenda of the statutory meeting is a visit to China by the Mayor and a team and Town Clerk Royston King’s dismissal of Corporal Quacy Bavaghems, who was dismissed for reportedly failing to take action during an alleged sexual assault on a minor by a lance corporal.