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City Hall blocks shipping containers from leaving wharves unless they pay GYD$25K

City Police erected barricades outside Muneshwer's Wharf , Water Street to prevent laden shipping containers from leaving or entering the wharf unless a levy of GYD$25,000 is paid.

City Police erected barricades outside Muneshwer’s Wharf , Water Street to prevent laden shipping containers from leaving or entering the wharf unless a levy of GYD$25,000 is paid.

Less than one week after a City Magistrate threw out several charges against businesspersons for failure to pay a GYD$25,000 shipping container tax,  City Hall on Tuesday blocked shipping containers from leaving city wharves unless they pay the same amount of  money to use the roads.

Assistant Town Clerk, Sherry Jerrick told reporters outside Muneshwer’s Wharf that the Mayor and City Council was invoking 273 and 274 of its by-law “with respect to the use of its roads by vehicles of a certain weight.” “The container is of a specific weight and it’s not just about parking or landing of the container but it’s actually the container traversing the roadway,” she said when asked by Demerara Waves Online News.

However, companies operating at least two city wharves expressed concern that they were not notified in advance and instead were merely pounced upon by City Police and administrative officials of the City’s municipality.

“There is a barricade outside our compound, we can’t move. Nobody told us anything. They just came, they put the barricades and no traffic is allowed out,” said Robin Muneshwer, a Manager of Muneshwer’s Shipping.

Attorney-at-Law,  Robert Hanoman said the law that City Hall is seeking to enforce is “uncertain, vague and can never be enforced in a court of law” and so the Council should not permit containers to leave and enter the wharf. He said the Guyana Shipping Association would

A City Hall official writing the number of each shipping container vehicle that leaves John Fernandes Limited's wharf.

A City Hall official writing the number of each shipping container vehicle that leaves John Fernandes Limited’s wharf.

be advised to take legal action against City Hall.

Similarly, top officials of John Fernandes Limited (JFL) told reporters that they were caught by surprise when City Police erected barriers near the upper Robb Street entrance to their wharf. Pending legal advice,   JFL’s Terminal Operations Manager said his company was preparing to pay lump-sum for 30 laden containers so that they could be moved off the wharf.

“We are basically stuck as to what we should or should not do,” he said.

JFL officials said they expect consignees to reimburse the monies that the company would have paid to City Hall. That company has also said it would be seeking legal action.

Fernandes said City Hall was attempting to “strong-hand us.” “They say they have legal authority over the road… The best way is to work with the private sector and decide how they can get revenue,” he said.

Tuesday’s move to levy GYD$25,000 on each container leaving City wharves came less than one week after a City Magistrate discharged at least four cases after lawyers for those accused of failing to pay the container tax said the law under which their  clients were charged was not applicable because it referred to the discharge of goods and livestock from vessels moored alongside market stellings.

  • RLSG

    Another stupid move by the knuckleheads in the city council. As usual, no warning, no previous notice .. just set up a barricade and demand payment before the container trucks leave the wharves. Is this for real … what kind of stupid, insane policies are coming from that place. Georgetown residents must sure be having ‘buyers remorse’. This is a poor reflection on the APNU+AFC coalition … once again.

    • Lancelot Brassington

      I am with the city council on this one. If they were to ask for the money politely there would be endless tricks, dodges, delaying actions, legal grandstanding and sleight of hand by filthy rich businessmen who feel a sense of entitlement and who are accustomed to having their way. Let them pay for the roads they destroy. They are prepared to pay high priced lawyers to look for legal loopholes. Let them pay the council one tenth of that cost and let their lawyers find some other means of playing to the gallery and getting into the newspapers.

      • Col123

        The businesses need to pay. for the benefits of utilizing the country’s resources….no question….but how much and how often , and why the piecemeal and banana republic tactics and approach?..

        • Charles Selman

          Isn’t something smelling “fishy” with all the initiatives being taken by the City Council only to have them defeated in Court?
          This is a round-about way to levy money down the line from other vehicle owners for using roads in GT. Something like the toll for crossing the Wismar/Linden bridge.
          We have arrived at a tax-based economy earlier than I thought.

      • Arthur Young

        The cost will be passed to the consumer in the form of higher prices. Brute force never solved anything. ” To every action there is an equal opposite reaction” – Newton’s Law of Motion.

  • Col123

    Quite daunting !..Why not GYD $100 K ?

  • ExPPP_Man

    Even the city council now involved in choke and rob.

  • Venessa

    All city businesses should close their doors and send off their workers on no paid leave until Royston King and Her Royal Highness Patricia Chase Green Resign. if the weight restriction is 3 tons then all heavy vehicle has to pay this fee, including the Rice, Sand, Stone, logs, Garbage and all other Heavy vehicle not only containers, why are they only going after containers???? back to the 1960’s!!!! are they trying to shut the country down?

  • Neville

    Can’t you remember how Sooba was bullied? Now it is Sherod’s time and businesses in GT for $$$.

  • Arthur Young

    Central government handles all town road repairs.