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|City Council workers not yet paid for April|
|Sunday, 06 May 2012 00:46|
-- sources say cheques at the Bank
WORKERS of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) are often left unable to uplift salaries after they would have worked for an entire month, and the dire financial situation at the Council seems not to be getting any better. City Treasurer Andrew Meredith, whom City Councillors have accused of rampant corruption and of swindling monies under his jurisdiction, reported to a statutory meeting of the Council, early in April, that salaries could not be paid on time for April month end, because the Council was focused on paying outstanding amounts owed to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), and to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) for Pay As You Earn (PAYE).
Town Clerk Yonnette Pluck, whom City Councillors have also accused of incompetence, offered at the same statutory meeting that workers at the Council were writing the administration to voice their concerns over the NIS/PAYE issue.
Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green, to whom former President Bharrat Jagdeo had referred as obsolete, carried on the meeting after noting that that was not the issue.
The financial situation at the M&CC continues to worsen as the months go by, and the indebtedness is so distressing that Meredith had previously complained of having sleepless nights.
“It bothers me; I can’t sleep, the situation is so dire. Imagine, we haven’t paid NIS since August 2010,” Meredith had said in the past.
Meredith accepted he had been part of a system that had been breaking rules. “How much longer am I required to continue to break the law?” he had asked.
Regrettably, two years later, the situation remains the same.
On the other hand, authorities have accused the National Insurance Scheme of being too lax in its dealings with errant employers.
At a recent weekly post-Cabinet media briefing at the Office of the President, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, had said: “I blame the Scheme to a certain extent; the behaviour of the NIS with regard to quite a few errant employers has been a bit too tolerant.”
Luncheon, who is Chairman of the NIS Board, pointed out that Georgetown was not the only municipality that had fallen foul of the Scheme’s legislation as regards collecting contributions and handing them over.
“Probably others would be identified by the zealous members of the media,” he remarked.
Luncheon, however, maintained that the Scheme had been unduly tolerant of employers’ lapses, and anticipated more revelations on the issue.
Meanwhile, a source told this newspaper that cheques to pay salaries were signed and sent off to the bank Friday; but Meredith refused to comment on the matter.
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