Urban programme will transform City
-- President Jagdeo

Guyana Chronicle
March 31, 2000

PRESIDENT Bharrat Jagdeo said the City Council should not try to pass over its problems to the Central Government. He also disclosed that his administration will be handling the Urban Development Programme which will bring about improvements in the City.

Speaking at a budget press conference Wednesday, Mr Jagdeo explained that Government is paying the authority $241M in rates and taxes and expects to see something done in Georgetown.

He said the Government has been doing virtually all the road works in Georgetown. City Hall will also receive its annual subvention, Mr Jagdeo said.

"The City Council has a role to perform; it has services to deliver to the people of Georgetown. It (the services) is not a Government function. We have helped in many cases," President Jagdeo said.

The President referred to last year when the authority experienced problems with paying garbage contractors who decided to quit since the City Council owed them millions of dollars. Central Government then transferred in excess of $100M in outstanding rates and taxes to help the City Council pay the contractors.

Mr Jagdeo noted, too, that the municipality's financial statements have not been audited in ten years.

City Hall is working to complete its budget by weekend, and Mayor Hamilton Green said the authority may have to close or drastically cut key services provided to Georgetown.

Green at a press conference earlier this week had said that the day care and maternal and child welfare centres may have to be closed, and the number of Constables reduced. Also, garbage collection may have to be done on a more limited scale.

Green and others in the Council's administration are disappointed with the national budget as it relates to the municipality.

Mayor Green had lamented that the $241M in rates and taxes allocated City Hall in Monday's budget is not sufficient. Government owes more than this, he said.

A meeting was scheduled for today for discussions to complete the City's budget. It has however, been postponed.(GWEN EVELYN)