– Min. Dharamlall requests audit of all municipalities
By Rabindra Rooplall
THE Mayor and City Council (M&CC) of Georgetown garnered in excess of $12.7 billion in revenue but is still in deep financial crisis as it is unable to execute several projects in the city.
This is according to Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, who has since written to the Auditor General and requested a financial audit of all municipalities countrywide.
Minister Dharamlall made the revelation during a meeting with residents of Glasgow Housing Scheme in Greater New Amsterdam, East Bank Berbice at the weekend.
“I think there are things that are going wrong in New Amsterdam that we need to get fixed and get fixed urgently. I have written to the Auditor General to have an audit of all the towns. We need to know how the money was spent, why it was spent and how the decisions were made of how it was spent and what impact it had. You pay rates and taxes to the town so you expect certain benefits out of paying,” said Dharamlall.
The Minister, during an interview with the Guyana Chronicle, said that many municipalities have managed their resources poorly. He revealed that from 2015 – 2019, the revenue garnered for Linden was $1.2 billion; New Amsterdam, $645M, while Corriverton, Anna Regina and Rose Hall garnered $425M, $272 million, $216 million, respectively.
“I believe with an audit or at least 10 audits… in these local democratic organs, we will be able to get a good idea of what are the gaps and where are the inefficiencies so we can work with the administration of these municipalities to manage their resources better,” Minister Dharamlall told this newspaper.
He said the Terms of Reference for the audit will be established once the Auditor General approves the request. Minister Dharamall is of the view that the Georgetown M&CC is not being managed effectively to optimise its potential.
He believes that professionals should be hired outside of City Hall to help manage the resources of the M&CC.
Minister Dharamlall explained that the hiring practices at the M&CC are more in line with political likeness than one based on professionalism and the ability to execute mandated duties.
The Minister noted that the new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government released $2M to each municipality to ensure that employees are paid on time.
He said the monies were released after the government recognised that municipalities have not been able to generate revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.