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Town Clerk leased land not owned by City Hall to shipping company

City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk, Royston King.

Town Clerk, Royston King leased a parcel of land to a shipping company, but the Commission of Inquiry into the operations of the Georgetown Municipality says that land is owned by government’s holding company for State assets.

Chairman of the one-man Commission of Inquiry into City Hall’s administration, Retired Chancellor of the Judiciary, Cecil Kennard that the probe would focus, on among other things the leasing of the land under the Town Clerk’s signature.

“Among the matters I have to deal with are the financial affairs of the City Council…the granting of a lease to a shipping company by the Town Clerk. This land is being claimed by NICIL (National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited). The area of land is 1 Lot 1 Mudlot, Lombard Street, Georgetown,” Kennard said.

In documents seen by Demerara Waves Online News, the Town Clerk signed a lease agreement on April 5, 2016 for the land at an initial cost of GY$625,000.

By September of that year, the evidence before the Commission of Inquiry is that the company realised that the land was owned by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL),  the government holding company.

City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green several months ago had confirmed to Demerara Waves Online News that City Hall had contracted a local firm to valuate several Demerara River wharves, partly with the objective of leasing a number of the facilities for use by the oil and gas sector.

The Commission of Inquiry Chairman said the probe would also focus on the non-remittance of National Insurance Scheme social security contributions, income tax and credit union deductions.

A number of retired employees of the City’s municipality on Monday testified that they were owed gratuities and experiencing delays in the payment of pensions.

The Inquiry, according to Kennard, would also deal with a complaint by then Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan that Mayor Chase-Green had “improperly rejected a motion of no-confidence against the Town Clerk”.