Georgetown: Mayor not interested in confrontation with business community

April 16, 2019  – Letter from the Mayor of Georgetown. Guyana.

City Hall – Georgetown

Dear Editor,
IT IS with great surprise that I read an article published by I News, via social media, on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, captioned: “Mayor’s attack on city businesses that owe taxes “displeasing”

I wish to avoid the tedium of a verbose response except to say briefly, the following: As the Chief Citizen, I did not attack anyone. I simply made an appeal at a press conference for businesses to honour their civic obligations to the Council. No organisation that is committed to providing critical services can do so without the 3 Ms, money, manpower and machinery. It is the synergetic interactions of the 3Ms that translates into the provision of services to the citizenry.

Our records at Council reveal that both residential and commercial rate payers owe the Council rates in excess of $8B. This has affected the timely provision of services to the citizens of Georgetown.     

When I took office, I sought to have audience with several organisations and private individuals in an effort to communicate the challenges of the Council, and to encourage ratepayers to be responsible. If ratepayers are faithful to this cause, the Council would be in better financial position to respond to its indebtedness, and to liquidate some of its liabilities.

It is quite unfortunate that the GCCI would interpret my simple appeal to ratepayers, particularly the business community, as an attack. The current situation at the M&CC requires all hands on deck to advance the interest of the City. I am willing to work with all organisations and citizens in the interest of this beautiful City. I have come to realise that over the years, some persons have become negligent in this regard, while the Council continues to provide services. It is important to note that unpaid rates attract compound interest, and this has placed many ratepayers in a peculiar situation, where the interest accrued is much more than the demand. However, we have put systems in place to address these special circumstances. I continue to appeal to residents to come in and talk with us. As Mayor, I have adopted an open-door policy to reach every citizen who has a concern. The truth is, there is a need for a paradigm shift in the way we view and treat with payments of general rates. It cannot be business as usual, if we desire take the city to another level.

Once again, the payment of general rates is a legitimate responsibility of ratepayers, and likewise is the provision of services. This is a hand-in-gloves situation that cannot happen in isolation. Many have opined that Council must find other ways of garnering revenue, which is quite true. However, at the same time, we must put systems in place to collect outstanding revenue owed.

Currently, the Finance Committee is finalising Budget 2019. Hence, City Hall is seeking to secure outstanding rates in order to cover proposed works, and address such outstanding statutory obligations as N.I.S, G.R.A, PAYE and the Credit Union. Once again, in my inaugural address to the citizens of this great city, I encourage us to build bridges and not walls. Fellow citizens, bridges allow us to communicate; they provide opportunities for us to advance our sphere of influence. My posture as Mayor is not to be confrontational. but to unite with the business community and residents to move this city forward.

LET US BUILD BRIDGES.

Regards
Pandit Ubraj Narine
Mayor of Georgetown

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Comments

  • Curtis  On April 17, 2019 at 3:27 am

    Mr. Mayor I say do what you have to do to right this wrong that has been allowed to go on for far too many years. It’s sheer worthlessness on the part of those parties who have been negligent in their payments and it’s time they pay the piper. The City cannot function in an effective manner and provide the services needed for its citizens if it lacks the funds. This is money lawfully owed to the City by a bunch of bandits. The government need to put liens on the businesses that are in arrears.

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