Councillors reject bid for $16.5M bank loan

Stabroek News
June 12, 2001

The proposal for the Mayor & City Council (M&CC) to solicit a $16.5 million loan from the National Bank of Industry & Commerce (NBIC) to upgrade the Stelling View Area for the Water Street vendors was rejected by council at yesterday's statutory meeting.

The city councillors are contending that the Finance Committee did not carry out its mandate as was set out by council at the previous statutory meeting.

All the councillors who were at yesterday's meeting vehemently opposed the proposal to seek the loan.

However, the question that remains unanswered is what it is to become of the vendors after tomorrow since they are supposed to move from Water Street on that day.

People's National Congress REFORM (PNC/R) Councillor, Oscar Clarke, who suggested that council reject the proposal, said that the committee came up with something entirely different from what council decided upon.

The proposal put forward to council stated that the committee met on May 29 and at the beginning of the meeting the chairman said that the purpose of the meeting was to determine areas in the estimates where adjustments could be made to accommodate $16.5 million.

The proposal further stated that the city treasurer suggested that instead of adjusting the estimates that an overdraft facility be sought.

It was further stated that the chairman cautioned against the issue of an overdraft for capital projects and it was therefore recommended that a loan be obtained form the bank. Further it was agreed that the city engineer would submit an estimate for a proper structure for the entire Stelling View area so the council could approach the government for additional funding.

"Should funding from government not materalise then council would have to revert to the original cost of $16.5 million by way of loan," the proposal concluded.

People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) councillor, Fitzgerald Agard noted that the committee had "no mandate to consider an overdraft."

He said that the decision of council at the last statutory meeting was for the finance committee to advise the treasurer on how the money for the rehabilitation of the area could be sourced from the budget. He noted that since the budget has provision for emergencies and the rehabilitation of the area is considered an emergency then "we should know exactly where the money is coming from."

Good & Green Guyana (GGG) councillor, Patricia Chase-Greene said that from all appearances someone in the M&CC is bent on making the council look bad.