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M&CC in a perpetual state of financial crisis (Pt 2)

first_imgDear Editor,We were presented with information that the Council is considering foreign trips in 2018 for the Mayor and others, including attending a Sister Cities Project in China, participation in Dragon Boat Racing in China, a trip for the Mayor and her “Team” to attend the 21 Century Maritime Committee meeting (the Mayor had signed the 21 Century Maritime Agreement on her last trip to China – isn’t this the domain of foreign affairs?), and a trip for the Mayor to attend the Caribbean Conference of Mayors in Kingston, Jamaica. I had previously argued in Council that these foreign trips have not yielded any tangible benefits for the citizens of Georgetown and given the never-ending financial crisis at Council, all foreign trips should be halted.The administration headed by Town Clerk Royston King and Mayor Chase Green have challenged interventions by the Communities Minister to correct some of their actions. For instance, they challenged the Cabinet’s decision to suspend the parking meter By-laws when it was presented by the Minister and the Town Clerk even hired an attorney to communicate that challenge to the Minister’s authority. Then there was the letter from the Communicates Minister to the Town Clerk which was carried in some newspapers which clarified the authority of the Town Clerk due to complaints from citizens and some Councillors. And when the Central Government decided to assist the Council with an additional $200 million recently with recommendations on how the money should be spent, they decided to go ahead with a plan they had already decided upon. The Mayor even publicly accused the Communities Minister of meddling in the affairs of the Council while she conveniently forgot the assistance the Council received from Government to pay the garbage contractors, repair Council roads, repair the Kitty Market and the pending repairs to the Stabroek wharf.We were now informed that the Town Clerk has plans to add a new ‘research and development department’ to the already over-bloated City Council staff but he has not yet provided any details even though this item was on the 2018 Budget discussions. This is in addition to Wardens he hired who are attached to his office and who are duplicating the functions of staff in other departments.After having read many letters and articles about corruption and mismanagement at the City Council, you have to wonder what could be done to correct this situation since Central Government appears unwilling to “rock the boat” at City Hall perhaps due to overarching political considerations. But I strongly believe that the welfare and interests of the citizens must take precedence and this situate must be corrected post-haste. While this list is not comprehensive or all-inclusive, there are a number on actions and positions that can be taken including the Government finally accepting that the Council is bankrupt and that the Town Clerk, Mayor and Finance Committee Chairman are incompetent and have utterly failed in the discharge of their responsibilities and should be removed from office immediately.A robust forensic audit is necessary due to the lack of accountability and transparency in the financial dealings of Council where billions have been spent and the Auditor General has been unable to perform complete audits. A team of experts from the various Ministries and the Guyana Revenue Authority is needed to examine systems and procedures in place or a lack thereof and to make recommendations in the areas of finance, engineering, security, health, accountability, transparency and good governance. I strongly believe that the City’s Public Health Department and Day Care Centres should be turned over to the Health/Education Ministries perhaps until such a time when competent and effective management returns to City Hall and when Council is financially viable. The close examination of the workforce is necessary to ensure that there is no redundancy and that workers and management staff possess the right qualifications and/or experience for the positions they hold. And finally, the election of competent Councillors who can understand and make recommendations on financial, legal and social matters and who will not be just seat-warmers or rubber-stamps and will be willing to stand up and challenge any actions that are not in the best interests of the citizens of Georgetown.Yours sincerely,Bishram Kuppen –CouncillorMayor and Councillorsof the City ofGeorgetownlast_img

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