City, private sector still to finalise container fee after two years

-Mayor bemoans

After two years, Georgetown’s municipality and the Private Sector Commission (PSC) are still to agree on a fixed fee for the unloading of shipping containers in the city.

At the City Council’s statutory meeting on August 27th, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green expressed concern over the failure to reach an agreement despite meetings for the past two years.

The Mayor said, “This council would come to an end in November, and it would be two plus years since we have been trying to meet and come to a decision with the Private Sector on the cost of containers using our the streets.”

The municipality had introduced container fees as a mean to increase its revenue base in August, 2016.

The imposed fee was highly controversial and attracted criticism after the fee was initially set at $25,000 per container. It was later reduced to $5,000 on an interim basis.

“We try and meet together and the PSC has been continuously trying to frustrate this arrangement with us and we are trying to work with them…,” Chase-Green lamented.

Newly-elected President of the PSC Desmond Sears told Stabroek News that the tripartite committee, which was set up on the recommendation of President David Granger to address the container fees and other issues in the city, last met in July. According to Sears, some members of the committee were out of the jurisdiction and that had put a hold on meetings. He, however stated that the PSC will be making contact with the Ministry of Communities to organise a meeting to continue their discussions this week.

The tripartite committee is made up of the Mayor and City Council, the ministries of Business and Communities and the PSC.

Since the implementation of the fees, the city earned $57 million in 2016 and $183 million in 2017 and over $40 million for 2018 thus far.

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