PPPC Councillor raps Mayor for prematurely threatening legal action

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 October 2023, 22:44 by Denis Chabrol

PPPC Councillor Don Singh

People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) Councillor, Jainarine ‘Don’ Singh on Sunday scolded City Mayor Alfred Mentore for prematurely calling for an emergency council meeting and threatening legal action against Local Government Minister Anand Persaud for blocking an amnesty for rates and taxes until the council proves that it can do so legally.

Mr Singh said Mr Mentore’s call for an emergency meeting without the Council receiving legal advice was both verbose and rude.

“Perhaps it might have done the Mayor well to consult with the Town Clerk on his return from his travels as the issue of amnesty and the Minister of Local Government’s letter to council was discussed in his absence. He would have found that the council decided to seek legal advice before proceeding (we are still awaiting that advice) on any action,” Mr Singh told Demerara Waves Online News.

The PPPC, Mr Singh said, would like to see a transparent process on ” amnesty” as there is “no mention of any such thing” in the Municipal and District Councils Act.  Mayor Mentore had said that the amnesty was aimed at raking in much-needed revenue to pay off an income tax debt to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA). The Mayor and a team from City Hall’s Finance Committee recently met with GRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statia and hammered out an agreement to pay off the monies.

The PPPC Councillor accused the City Mayor of operating in an ad hoc manner, in contrast to his promised sweeping changes/

Mr Singh took issue with Mr Mentore accusing the PPPC of double standards because it was the Mayor’s A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) councillors that had voted to remove vendors on October 9. “Had it not been for for vociferous objection by  PPPC councillors at a subsequent meeting as well as using their votes to create the 2/3rds majority needed to rescind that decision,the Stabroek square would have been bulldozed!,” he said.

He added that it was quite audacious for the People’s National Congress Reform, the major party in APNU, to speak of property transfer from the City. The city that they have been in control of for 57 years does not have an asset register and has not had one since 2005 and even longer for a forensic audit,” he said.

The Local Government Minister, in a letter to Town Clerk Candace Nelson dated October 16, 2023,  said in keeping with the Municipal and District Council Act, he wanted to first see the financial regulation that authorises City Council’s decision “to offer amnesty on interest accumulated on the accounts of ratepayers and the grounds upon which such decision is based.” “I hereby request that you halt this alleged amnesty forthwith while the lawfulness of this purported amnesty is interrogated,” he said.