Higher abattoir, stall fees likely - crematorium nearer

City Council Round-Up
with Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
February 21, 2000

The Georgetown city council has signalled its intention to increase fees for the municipal abattoir and rents for stalls in some of the markets.

In the case of the abattoir the proposed fees for slaughtering an animal at the city's abattoir would be increased from $500 to $1,000.

Slaughtering fees for sheep, pigs and goats would move from $150 to $400. While slaughterers and tripe workers would have to pay an annual licence fee of $1,000, an increase of one hundred per cent.

Daily operating fees which now stand at $20 per day could jump to $100 under the new proposals.

In the case of meat stalls the Public Health Department has recommended an increase in rent from $100 to $400 per week.

Meanwhile, stallholders in the municipal markets have already been made aware of the decision by the council to increase rents by 50% or more. Some two years ago there was talk around the horseshoe table at city hall, that the council would be tying future increase in rents to improvements in especially Stabroek and Bourda markets.

These structures needed repairs to leaking roofs and suffered from poor lighting, and lack of proper security.

Stallholders in the Stabroek bazaar and the Bourda green have been complaining about the constant thefts at their stalls after closing time.

The Government's concern The minister in the Ministry of Local Government, Clinton Collymore has assured the city council that "government is not insensitive to the financial constraints facing the Georgetown city council."

But the minister noted that the government is "sorely agitated over the present state of some of the roads, the drainage systems, the sanitation and garbage disposal facilities and the infrastructure of the municipality."

The city council had written the minister on December 16, 1999 and January 4, 2000 setting out a number of areas where the government seemed to be dragging its feet in making it possible for the council to collect more revenue.

City hall wants to discuss with the minister in the local government ministry, matters relating to a container tax, fuel tax, municipal parking arrangements, a percentage of the registration of licence fees for vehicles and the construction of a crematorium among others.

Mr Collymore in his reply has informed the council that it could go ahead with the building of a crematorium.

The council is seeking an increase in financial support from the Jagdeo government as preparations continue with the city's budget for this year. According to the chairman of the council's finance committee, deputy mayor Robert Williams, this was due to be announced in mid February.

Mr Williams is working on a $2.6 billion budget.

A change of heart? A strange development took place at city hall last Monday, when People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/Civic) councillors were nominated to serve on a number of committees which oversee the operations of the departments within the municipality.

During the early life of this council comprising councillors from the governing PPP/Civic, the Good and Green Guyana (GGG) and the People's National Congress (PNC) councillors from the three political parties accepted nominations to serve on the council's various committees.

But most recently both the PPP/Civic and the PNC councillors refused to serve resulting in the GGG taking control. This was a most unwholesome situation as far as the operations of the council's multi-faceted departments are concerned.

Last Monday PPP/Civic councillors Fitzgerald Agard, Premchand Dass, Rudolph Harris and Victor Sobers, were nominated to serve on the Finance and City Works committees respectively.

Former PNC mayor Ranwell Jordan was also nominated to serve on one of the key committees but did not accept. I should mention however, that two PNC councillors, Moses and Ramsaroop regularly attend meetings of the Social Development, City Works and Finance committees although they are not official members.

The City Treasurer's dilemma After deliberating for nearly two hours the council at its last statutory meeting came to the conclusion that the 34-year-old officer who has been acting City Treasurer since November 1st, 1997 is not yet ready to be appointed to the top post.

Mr Roderick Edinboro is the holder of a degree in management from the University of Guyana and was appointed deputy City Treasurer in December 1996.

A recommendation from Town Clerk, Beulah Williams says Mr Edinboro who has been an employee for more than ten years has performed satisfactorily with limited financial and human resources and that his appointment as City Treasurer "is critical to the future enhancement of the department."

Last Monday the appointment of Mr Edinboro sparked an acrimonious debate with deputy mayor Robert Williams in the chair, forcing the chairman of the meeting to exclude the press until after councillors had dealt with the issue.

Before this took place councillor Anthony Boyce of the GGG and councillor Ranwell Jordan backed Mr Edinboro's appointment. This column was informed that PPP/Civic councillor Rocky Mann was also in favour of the incumbent City Treasurer getting the job.

At the end of the meeting the Town Clerk told reporters that the council's decision is that Mr Edinboro should be given additional training to upgrade his skills lasting for three months, to be followed by a further probation period on the job.

In the meantime he would continue to perform his duties as acting City Treasurer with authority to sign cheques. It's worth noting that between 1989 and 1997 ten persons held the post of City Treasurer.