Gov’t should consider bailout for bankrupt City Hall

-inquiry recommends

The just-concluded Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the operations of City Hall has suggested that central government consider a conditional bailout for the municipality, which is currently bankrupt.

The CoI report, which has been seen by Stabroek News, notes that the National Insurance Scheme is owed in excess of $206 million, Guyana Revenue Authority in excess of $374 million and the Public Service Credit Union $46,761,458.

Additionally, 44 former employees are yet to receive payments of gratuity, with outstanding amounts being approximately $150 million in total. Further sums are owed to contractors and suppliers across all programmes of the City Council.

In relation to the sums owed to former employees the report notes that while “it is reasonable to recommend that all former workers are paid immediately… the question is where the funds are?”

The conclusion of Commissioner Cecil Kennard, who conducted the inquiry, is that “in the absence of the funds, one can only look to one solution to provide same, and that is the government of Guyana.”

It was also concluded that if all rates owed for the year 2018 were paid, the council would not be able to settle its debts, which date back in some cases to 1994. As a consequence, the CoI has recommended that there be some government bailout…tied to certain conditions.

The CoI was set up by the Local Government Commission. It was tasked with inquiring into the administration, operation and financial management of the affairs of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown.

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