-City council has 900 employees who mostly do nothing and are not properly equipped
Local Government Minister, Kellawan Lall, yesterday said that a health crisis in the city would be as a result of Mayor Hamilton Green's reluctance to slash jobs in an effort to meet City Council expenses, including paying garbage contractors.
Waste Disposal contractors, Puran Brothers, Waste Disposal Service Cevons Waste Management Incorporated, and Crawler and Wheeler Waste Disposal Service, on June 21, made good on their threat to withdraw their services from the Georgetown municipality. The contractors are owed $75 million.
Yesterday, Lall turned the heat on the Mayor, saying that instead of traveling he should settle down to manage the affairs of the City.
Lall said that he is not willing to listen to anything the Council has to say unless the Council talks about cutting staff.
“The Mayor is not talking about how he is going to cut a wage bill of $75 million a month. He has to deal with that problem…Going here and there and getting a few more dollars will not help,” Lall lashed out yesterday.
The Mayor has complained that the government owes the Coucnil money, but Lall said that even if the government owes the council $100 million, that accounts for the City Council paying just one month’s wage. The money that the government owes is for an entire year, and Lall said two payments have already been made.
“Whenever the money is due to the City Council from Central government in rates and taxes we pay,” Lall stated, even suggesting that there is no formal agreement when the money is to be paid, but that this is worked out with the Ministry of Finance.
“I have been urging the Mayor to cut the staff,” Lall stated. With 900 employees, he said, this makes the City Council the largest corporation in the city, “doing what?”
“…We can hardly see people in the streets cleaning and even those in the streets, they don’t have rakes, they don’t have shovels, they don’t have long boots, they don’t have protective clothing, nothing. How is he managing the city? I don’t think it is fair to ask central government to do these things. I think they have to seriously look at the staff and the peripheral services they are subsidizing,” Lall declared.
Lall said that the Mayor has been trying to get more money by asking the minister to stop the waiver on taxes to religious and educational institutions, but Lall has refused, saying he would never do that.
“That is just scraping the barrel,” Lall countered. He said the government takes care of major services in the city such as sewerage, water, health, electricity and repairs to roads, while all the City Council has to do is: “clean the drains, pick up the garbage, look after the markets.”
“Most of the money that is being collected from the people of Georgetown is being used to pay salaries and run the offices; nothing else.