Govt pays up $37M owed to city
-workers' December salaries assured
Stabroek News
December 16, 2006

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Government has paid the $37 million it owed the city in rates and taxes and so the council is in a better position to pronounce on its financial position.

But a meeting with the union which threatened strike action if it did not receive a commitment from the council regarding a year-end payment for staff, has been rescheduled at the union's request.

Deputy Mayor Robert Williams told Stabroek News that the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) met workers yesterday and explained its financial position, informing them that their December salaries were assured on or before December 20 but the council was still not in a position to say exactly when it would make the year-end payment.

"We would like to pay it as soon as possible but we still cannot commit to a particular date," Acting Town Clerk Yonnette Pluck told this newspaper.

Meanwhile, the M&CC is also comforted by the fact that it has received word from the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) indicating its willingness to start settling its outstanding balance. "Discussions with the water company as well as the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) look favourable at this time and so things might be looking up for us," Williams said. The M&CC said there were many persons it had to pay, including contractors and so it has to strike a balance while still collecting monies and trying its utmost to settle its debts. The Guyana Labour Union on Wednesday called off a strike by council workers after the M&CC refused to continue negotiations citing industrial relations law which states that the union cannot engage in collective bargaining while it is taking strike action.

The city has contended that this current situation has nothing to do with mismanagement as some suppose, but everything to do with corporate citizens and property owners ensuring the integrity of their accounts at City Hall.