Now City Council owes NIS $3M
October 6, 1999
THE City Council met yesterday to resume its statutory meeting which began two Mondays ago, and had a fresh matter to contend with. This time it was one month's National Insurance Scheme contributions, worth $3M, that were not paid since last year.
The matter is to be investigated, Mayor Hamilton Green instructed.
This issue was raised by Good and Green Guyana (GGG) Councillor, Ms Patricia Chase-Green, who declared that no employee should be at a disadvantage because of a bad system.
City Treasurer Mr. Roderick Edinborough said the deductions were below the statutory level and the cheques were returned to the City Council to be rectified.
The Treasurer's Department's Administrative Officer, Ms. Pearl MacLean, he said, was tasked with correcting the problem.
Mayor Green observed that the matter is a serious one and he asked the Town Clerk, Mr. Anthony Braithwaite, to summon MacLean so the Council could hear why the cheques were delayed.
MacLean was sent for and, after being advised by Green to put the microphone as close as possible to her mouth while speaking (so that everyone could hear), the Officer told Council that she took her office in May this year and is therefore not responsible for the cheques.
The question should be asked whether the cheques were submitted to her at all, MacLean said.
She went on to comment on the disorganised state of the Treasurer's Department and said that the cheques are now outdated.
But Treasurer Edinborough said MacLean assumed her office in 1997.
Further, MacLean is responsible for all remittances. She is tasked with ensuring that cheques are remitted on time to various agencies, he said.
Edinborough said he had asked MacLean to rectify the problem as soon as possible.
"This is just one area of dereliction by Mrs. MacLean as an Administrative Officer," Edinborough said.
He was, however, interrupted by some Councillors and Mayor Green, who felt it was inappropriate to discuss MacLean's faults at such a forum.
Dereliction, Green stressed, is a strong term.
However, People's National Congress (PNC) Councillor, Mr. Ranwell Jordan believed that Edinborough should have been allowed to speak.
"It's only fair," he said.
"I have heard enough to say this requires a further investigation," Green said.
He added that the Treasurer's Department has caused the City Council concern for some time and further discussions will take place at another forum. (Gwen Evelyn)
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