…over non-payment of NIS, PAYE, Credit Union dues…although Municipality deducts $280M from wagesCity Hall may find itself in hot water today if workers decide to follow the advice of the Guyana Labour Union (GLU) and go on strike until monies are remitted to the Credit Union, the Guyana Revenue Authority and the National Insurance Scheme.City HallAt Monday’s statutory meeting, the City’s Welfare Officer, Wesley Adams, informed Councillors that the administration met with the Labour Department; the General Secretary of the GLU, Carvil Duncan; the Deputy Town Clerk and other staff representatives on February 5, 2018, where it was decided that the municipality would be given two weeks to begin addressing the issues.“This morning (Monday) a member of staff brought a notice to my attention in which Mr Duncan sent out this notice informing members of staff because of the failure of the (City Hall’s) administration to address the issues there will be a withdrawal of the workers’ service tomorrow (today) and they are required to meet at the Union Hall,” he related.Adams noted that many of the issues that were being brought to fore were being addressed.“The administration met with NIS as it relates to deduction and remittance and also the Credit Union. However, this afternoon (Monday), I met with some members of staff and I told them clearly, while it is their prerogative to go on strike because the administration is trying its utmost best, I think they should think clearly before they go on strike,” Adams added.The Council was also informed that although monies are being deducted from the workers’ wages and salaries for NIS, Union dues and PAYE, those monies are not remitted to the agencies.According to the City Treasurer, Ron McAlmont, the municipality owes the Credit Union over $26 million; NIS $127.4 million; and the GRA, $132 million. He explained that on Friday last, the Council would have made payments of $10.3 million and $10.4 million to the NIS and Credit Union respectively.Meanwhile, Town Clerk Royston King explained that the current financial status of City Hall should be taken into account when looking at the overall picture. He, however, noted that steps are already being put in place to address the issue in a timely fashion.With all of that being said, some Councillors were at a loss as to how monies could be deducted and not paid over to the entities. Councillor, Andrea Marks, said it is a “shame” that workers are being denied their benefits when they go to NIS because of the administration’s ineptitude. Meanwhile, Councillor Bishram Kuppen, called for a written report on the issue and for it to be addressed urgently by the Finance Committee.Finance Committee Chairman, Councillor Oscar Clarke, said the issue has been engaging the attention of the Committee and noted that with the current financial position of the municipality, had it gone ahead and made those payments, then workers would have been waiting longer periods for their wages and salaries.At an Extraordinary Statutory Meeting on November 14, 2017, Clarke had suggested that the municipality consider downsizing the number of staff since salaries account for 68 per cent of the Council’s revenue. That came in light of the cash strapped municipality failing to pay its workers’ their wages and salaries on time leading to protests.The chairman had suggested the Council should begin looking to reduce its 800 staff. He noted that the current financial state will remain if the Council continues to pay 68 per cent of its revenue for staffing.For quite a while now, the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has been cash-strapped, and on multiple occasions, work around the city had to be halted, since the municipality was unable to pay workers. The City’s major garbage contractors – Cevons Waste Disposal and Puran Bros Disposal Service – were forced to withdraw their services after the administration was unable to pay over $300 million owed to them. This resulted in Cevons laying off a number of its employees and Central Government stepping in to pick up the tab. (Lakhram Bhagirat)
Residents of Smithfield, New Amsterdam, Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) on Saturday told Guyana Times that Friday evening was the first time for the week that they had a good nights’ rest. This was after four persons were taken into custody after a spate of breaking and entering at Smithfield during the month, which had escalated and become nightly over the past week.A back door which was wrenched openThe spate of robberies started in early September when an 18-year-old boy was pounced on by four armed men. According to the teenager, he was on his way home when the men met him three houses from his home. One had a gun, another had a cutlass and two were carrying crow bars. He said he was searched and asked where he was going. The teenager said they did not take anything from him.The same night a re-migrant’s home was broken into. According to the re-migrant, neighbours told him that three men broke into the lower flat of his home. He said they appeared to have targeted a water pump, but it was too large for them to remove. They however left with a smaller water pump and a pressure washer. The following night, on September 12, 2018, another house in Smithfield was broken into. No one was at home at the time of the burglary. Entry was made by cutting open a grilled window. The bandits removed a flat screen television, among other articles. The house on the opposite side of the street was also broken into and electronic devices were also stolen. Reports are that the owner heard a strange sound and upon checking, saw a flashlight moving in her house.According to her, two men entered her bedroom and demanded cash and jewellery. One carried a cutlass and the other a crow bar. The bandits took money they found in two purses along with two laptop computers, a DVD player, two cellular phones and a television set.A window the bandits tried to use to gain entry to a homeThe following morning, a building adjacent to hers was broken into. The bandits broke open a window and stole cellular phones, an electronic tablet, jewellery, wrist watches, cash and alcohol.According to the owner of that home, she was awoken by a telephone call. Thereafter, she realised that her front door was opened and several articles were missing from her home.During last week, residents raised an alarm after bandits were seen in the community. Guyana Times was told that six men were seen in the area, but they fled after they attempted to steal a motorbike which failed to start.According to the residents who have formed a security group, they operate by calling neighbours in the community by telephone whenever they suspect that the bandits are trying to get into a home.Police were able to apprehend two men; one of them at the time had a bag with articles which were stolen from a home.Further investigation led to the recovery of more articles at a home in a community next to Smithfield, Angoys Avenue. Two more persons were arrested there.The Police continue to investigate.