The Mayor has failed to produce audited financial statements to account for millions in expenditure – Min. Dharamlall

Kindly permit me a space in your newspaper to respond to the erroneous claims of Mayor Pt. Ubraj Narine to justify the Opposition’s gross mismanagement and grave misconduct at City Hall.

In his letter to the Editor of Stabroek News dated June 9, 2023, the Mayor mentioned that letters were sent to the Auditor General in January of every year during his tenure. Can the Mayor present to the citizens of Georgetown and the country by extension the Audited Financial Statements of the Council? The answer is a resounding NO. Why? There is none. How can City Hall properly account for monies when there is no record of their spending of it? What is there to audit? Yet the Mayor, in his fine fashion, continues to masquerade publicly with spurious claims and calumny.

The PNC-led Council, later APNU/AFC Council of Georgetown has failed to give documented account for their spending of tax payers money. They have failed to implement systems and strategies to ensure that the more than one billion dollars in rates and taxes collected annually are properly documented and accounted for. Vouchers are misplaced, schemes of fraud are unearthed, Auditor General queries are left unanswered all because of unaccountable/misplaced financial records at the hands of the APNU-led Council. The list of financial improprieties is a long one.The APNU-led Council has been no less than an abysmal failure to the people of Georgetown. Even this is an understatement of their performance, ‘rubber stamped’ by the Mayor.

In his second point, the Mayor mentioned that the Local Government Commission had rejected the Council’s attempt to live-stream the Council’s meetings in 2020. Sir, I shudder to respond to this pathetic excuse except to say that the PPP/C government only swore in the current Commissioners in April 2021. It was under the APNU/AFC government that the Local Government Commission was enforced. Therefore, the decision-making power was within the broken cradle of leadership, or for better phrase, ‘lack of leadership’, of the then APNU/AFC government. The PPP/C government was never responsible for such a decision regarding livestreaming of the Council’s meetings. Nonetheless, kudos to the government for pledging their commitment to bring live-streaming into fruition. This is testimony to the PPP’s mandate of transparency at every level, including the Local Government. This move will ensure citizens of Georgetown are aware of the level at which the Council functions and how their elected constituency members are making representation for their rights, a move which accentuates accountability. The APNU-led Council rejected this motion because implementing it would expose their unaccountability, incapacities, inabilities, callous, crooked and cunning nature and it would further reveal the perpetuity of all uncanny ulterior motives to the public. 

Editor, the Mayor further speaks to city management, but I ask, with what authority does he speak on behalf of such matters? What has he done for Georgetown to reclaim its title, “The Garden City? Rather, under his reign, Georgetown continues to be the “Garbage City.” Editor, a simple walk through any street of Guyana’s Capital is evidence of the gross mismanagement of the city under the PNC. For many years, the Council has failed in upholding its mandates as enshrined in Chapter 28:01. The result: clogged drains which are only cleared whenever there is a reported blockage, roads which are not maintained, parapets unkept, the Municipal Markets and buildings slowly crumbling, garbage is evident in every ward of the city. Yet, the Mayor and his cohorts find the time to lease to his fellow party comrades and confederates every known piece of reserve within the city without even getting a valuation done. Some of these prime lands are leased for a little as twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) annually. Just recently the Council was taken to court for leasing a portion of reserve to a company which does not belong to the Council. This company is now claiming damages in excess of thirty million dollars ($30,000,000) from the Council. Editor, does this not constitute mismanagement?

Spatial and temporal constraints prohibit me from presenting to your readership the unended list of infractions and failures of Chapter 28:01 under the APNU-led Council- a supplemental issue would have to be published to represent this listing. Nonetheless, a few of these are documented below so that an idea of the tenets of mismanagement can be garnered;

  1. The Mayor’s unilateral decision to grant permission to friends to restrict access to alleyways and to occupy the Council’s reserve.
  2. The wreckless usage and deliberate damage to the Council’s vehicle by the Mayor.
  3. The decision to grant permission to party comrades to build stalls on Merriman Mall while the poorer class of persons continue to operate on the streets and are made to toil in grueling conditions battling the elements.
  4. Making decisions to pay millions of dollars without proper verification to another party comrade who claimed that the Council is indebted to him.
  5. Entertaining discussions to lease the Council’s Abattoir and the City Constabulary Training School to cronies.
  6. The unilateral decision to grant permission for a friend to operate a vulcanizing business next to a place of worship.

Editor, do these not constitute mismanagement? Without the shadow of a doubt, the Mayor is in no position to lecture on matters of management when his exhibitions constitute narcissism, nepotism and schizotypal traits in all isotopic forms.

Yet, the government continues to support the Council, just recently a new tractor/trailer was purchased for the Georgetown Municipality by the government.The Council receives an annual subvention of thirty million dollars ($30,000,000).

I can continue with the mismanagement and unaccountable nature of the APNU-led Council, but I will close by reiterating that proper management of the city means that the drains will be clean granting access to fire tenders in emergencies. Therefore, there will be less devastation as it relates to fires within the city and this is one of the many objectives of a PPP/C-led Council.

The citizens of Georgetown deserve better and the current Council led by the Mayor has failed to deliver same.

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