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Cash woes at City Hall continue… staff, garbage companies still unpaid

The two major solid waste disposal companies that serve Georgetown on Friday continued to express grave concern about City Hall’s failure to pay them millions of dollars for services provided during the past several months.

Employees of the Georgetown City Council were again not paid on Friday, despite a cautious assurance by a top finance official at City Hall on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan said he was aware of representation made by City Hall and that the Ministry of Finance was examining what could be done to relieve the cash crisis that has hit the Georgetown Municipality.  He could not say when the Finance Ministry would disburse funds to City Hall. Pressed on whether his intervention would result in cash being disbursed to the Municipality to pay staff and key service providers, Bulkan skirted the question and said “I don’t have a cheque book. The Central Government has given a subvention to the municipality but there are certain challenges. We will bring a responsive and responsible approach to these challenges,” he said.

Bulkan later said he would be speaking with the “administrative element” at City Hall to ascertain whether the financial problems told to him by Demerara Waves were factual. He said he had heard that salaries and other debts had not been paid.

The Public Relations Officer of City Hall did not return calls and Town Clerk, Royston King declined to speak with Demerara Waves Online News until possibly next week Monday. However, Chairman of the City Council’s Finance Committee, Oscar Clarke confirmed that the Council was broke because property owners have not been paying their taxes.  Due to the municipality’s financial plight, Clarke hoped that the Town Clerk has already sought the Central Government’s assistance. “I would certainly want to make that approach if it has not yet been made given the situation about which I am not entirely unaware of,”  said Clarke.

Top officials of Cevons Waste Management Inc and Puran Brothers Disposal  complained bitterly that they were now tired of repeated promises of being paid.  Cevons is owed GYD$136 million for work done since August, 2015 and Puran Brothers has submitted claims amounting to more than GYD$40 million dating back to January, 2016.

Managing Director of Cevons Waste Management Inc; Morse Archer said he was told  to check back next week Tuesday for payment but his patience has now been exhausted by the “empty promises.” His company plans to write the Town Clerk, a move that could include an ultimatum for the suspension of garbage collection services. “That’s an option if you leave me with no alternative but I don’t want to cause much anxiety,” Archer told Demerara Waves Online News.

Kaleshwar Puran of Puran Brothers Disposal Inc. said his company was in a difficult situation and planned to make a firm decision on the way forward at a management meeting on Saturday. “We had to make arrangements to pay staff. Our resources are depleted,” he said. Puran, like Archer, also said his company was being told repeatedly to check back on given days for payment but none has been forthcoming.

The Chairman of the Finance Committee confirmed that he has signed a number of  vouchers but acknowledged that that did not translate to payments.

He said City Hall needed approximately GYD$55 million to meet some payments including salaries. Clarke said City Hall has received judgments against a number of property owners for the non-payment of GYD$200 million in rates and taxes. He said the judgments commanded the owners to pay up, failing which City Hall has a right to seize the properties.

Construction works have been also halted at the Kitty Market and a presidential park that is under construction on the Merriman’s Mall between Upper Church Street and Upper North Road.

  • Emile_Mervin

    The coalition regime controls the Georgetown City Council. City employees and contractors have not been paid. The City Council is broke. And the Minister of Communities is studying the representation made for a bail out? See why folks like me feel this coalition is bumbling, stumbling and fumbling along?

    The coalition was in power for one year and had to know months ago that the City Council was in a cash crunch.

    Unless the coalition indefinitely postpones the 2020 elections or outright rigs it, the PPP is heading back into power without even have to say or do anything. You couldn’t script this for any political show!

    • faoud khan

      Once again the Georgetown City Council is unable to pay its bills. Can the Chairman of the City Finance Committee publish a list of defaulters in an attempt to push those defaulters to meet their obligations? It will be interesting to hear from the defaulters their responses. As for the Minister of Communities studying what to do, he had a year in the job and still cannot understand where the problems are? He was the most vocal campaigner on the streets along with his buddy Hamilton Green about what “they” can do if they were in power. Now he is in power he needs to act with decisiveness and delve into the financial operation of City Hall without delay. Or is he also out of his depth now that he has been made a Minister?

      • Col123

        The PPP stole all the money! What are these folks supposed to do?….spinning it this way is better than feeling bad about the hangover facing the city …

    • Col123

      EM..you just can’t make up this stuff…The city canvas these business for money towards the celebrations..that OK ..How can these folks even manage their personal household is beyond me!..postpone what election ?…they have a tested proven plan…

  • Col123

    Dem waves with no further news on the Jubilee celebrations ?…something does not seem right..no patriotism ??..Why is there sensationalism of the city’s financial situation ?… The city is not broke!.. The coalition has everything under control…The city and PNC are too big to fail. The PNC needs to have 1% more of the votes to win the 2020 election … Those Indians does not have to worry about giving the PNC 80% of their votes…Things are looking up…Big returns from the Celebrations and an expected 5% growth will give everyone the good life…Happy days are here again…

    • oliver

      hahahahahaha

    • Charles Selman

      An old man told me once: Kerosene is the only thing that can spoil ice. Some of our leaders are like kerosene.
      We voted for them to spoil it; so we have to swallow the bitter pill.
      Selman.

      • Col123

        Selman::: Interesting point about kerosene and ice…whose definition it is of spoil?…smell?..taste? melt ratio in comparison to sodium?…pollutant?..why would you want to put kerosene on ice?…OK…I am getting somewhere ..Why would anyone vote for these sobs who wold put kerosene on ice???

  • PETER

    Govt and City Hall and the Government has been giving a lot of amnesty to everybody, all the ppp business owners who were told not to pay taxes during ppp rule were told by the new City Council that they will be given amnesty.
    The program offers defaulting taxpayers an opportunity to honor their civic obligation and pay their rates and taxes, interest-free.
    Under the amnesty project, residential properties will receive total amnesty on interest, but companies and businesses must apply to the council for between 50 % and 75 % amnesty on tax interest. No wonder they are broke, the ppp business men are laughing at these idiots who took over.
    Did this government had a plan before they took office or are they running this government and country by trial and error, after too many errors they will fallinto the same bud-dup, a no confidence vote.

    • Col123

      Peter …Did those business owners you mentioned contribute any to the Jubilee …I would like the reference on these comments

  • Col123

    They will surprise you with th 4% growth in the economy….Stop knocking the PM Hon JD Dr Naggaraomoti… He is a good brotha…

    • MEMES Unlimited

      The 4% touted by the IMF, etc., represents JOBLESS GROWTH. The only shining star is from 2 international and well managed businesses…Guyana Goldfields and Troy Resources with gold production/declaration..contrary to Trotty’s recent spin.
      During Jagdeo’s reign, irrespective of any uninitiated commentary otherwise; many local businesses were hard pressed at times to fill vacancies…especially in rice, sugar, gold mining, mechanics, heavy equipment operators, truck drivers. NOW…go figure!!!

  • Col123

    B..I will vote for you to help them… They need some competent pencil pushers…if there is no cash…the PPP stole it…how will there be a flow… sorry, I left out the drug money and jaggie and roheehaws as you folks do note in SN

  • Col123

    You left out the thieving PPP stole all the money and their supporters are hoodlums

  • Col123

    You are not a good guest…If there are grey goose and duck curry , you should stick around and do some damage to the liqueur..,