PPP to advance measures for more accountability at City Hall

first_img…Party calls of yearly audited statementsAt the recently concluded Local Government Elections (LGE) of 2018, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) secured seven seats in the capital city of Georgetown, which is an increase of five seats when compared with the last LGE in 2016.The PPP plans to make City Hall more accountableWith the addition of its new voices at City Hall, PPP General Secretary Bharrat Jagdeo at a recent press conference outlined that the Party will be employing measures to ensure that the Georgetown City Council is fully accountable to its constituents.With a 2018 LGE voter turnout of just 28.3 per cent in Georgetown, many observers contended that a large part of the electorate in the city withheld votes from the ruling coalition Administration, following many of the startling revelations that came out from the recently ordered probe into City Hall’s management. Now that the PPP has garnered more seats, Jagdeo committed that the Party’s Councilors will not only hold the new Council accountable but will also put forward proposals to improve services offered by City Hall.“First of all, accountability in the City Council, we want audited statements every single year; we want every civil work be tendered using the National Procurement Act because you have seen that they have not had audited statements for the last three years [but] they have given out hundreds of millions in contracts without any form of tendering to friends and family. We want to correct that,” Jagdeo told the press.He added too that PPP Councilors will strive to make the City Council more user-friendly in terms of tax paying. The Party posited that residents and business owners and operators should not have to face the hassle of physically travelling to City Hall to pay their taxes or to find out how much they are in arrears. The PPP has agreed that taxpayers should be able to fully access these services online by entering their name and address in the city in electronic devices to check on their tax liabilities“I should be able to pay it online as how you pay your bills; then you improve services to residents in the city. We will be talking to our seven councilors to push for these things,” Jagdeo disclosed.More than that, the former President said the PPP wants the city to accelerate the process of permitting businesses to construct buildings which would lead to more job creation in Georgetown. In addition, he wants the city’s administration to review all of its expenditure now with the aim of assessing the impact on people.“You can’t have the current City Council funding the security for the former Mayor or the current Mayor having more security than the President,” he noted.On September 24, 2018, public hearings into the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into City Hall’s operations commenced before former Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Cecil Kennard. It had been revealed that a plot of riverfront land, reportedly not the property of City Hall was leased to a shipping company by King since April 5, 2016, at the cost of $625,000 per year.It was also heard that the Town Clerk, Royston King, allegedly collected monies from nine specific drivers of the Route 44 (Industry) route and that those drivers paid a rental of $3000 to occupy a stretch of the roadway that spans from the Avenue of the Republic to Hincks Street.Though much of the blame seemed to be placed on the Town Clerk, outspoken economist and former Presidential Advisor, Ramon Gaskin, had expressed that King should not have been the only subject to be put in the spotlight. He had argued that there was a culture of mismanagement and unaccountability at City Hall for more than 20 years and that it never stopped. He said it began under the leadership of former Mayor Hamilton Green and continued with Patricia Chase Green.“These two people should not be forgotten. Royston King is a product of Hamilton Green and Chase Green too,” he had told this newspaper. King has been sent on leave pending the outcome of this CoI.Aside from the seven seats the PPP/C gained, the smaller coalition partner, the Alliance For Change (AFC), won two while the majority, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) garnered the most with 21. Back in 2016, the combined APNU/AFC controlled 25 seats. (Shemuel Fanfair)last_img

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