[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister within the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development Norman Whittaker has vowed to do his best to address several issues facing Kwakwani when he met with members of the community’s Interim Management Committee (IMC) on November 2.
The meeting focused on the challenges affecting the community’s market and the need to have a Market Committee set up. There are serious issues of vendors refusing to pay required rates and taxes, the need for proper solid waste management and disposal and reinstitution of salaries for several workers attached to the IMC who have since left their posts.
Initial efforts to have a Market Committee were thwarted after a religious prayer group, according to a councillor, that took a position against the move and actively encouraged some members of the community not to attend. The issue of a businessman, who hails from the Linden Township, who operates five stalls but refuses to pay any monies to the council, was also brought to the minister’s attention.
Minister Whittaker in response said that the actions of a few could not be allowed to undermine the needs of the majority within the community noting that, “Except for the persons who are operating stalls, nobody else is benefitting”.
He pointed out to the councillors that unlike other jurisdictions, constables could not be employed and used to enforce the payment of monies owed as only markets controlled by Town Councils had the legal authority to do so.
A market Agreement was proposed by the minister and the need for all vendors to sign onto it was stressed, failing which penalties would be applied and enforced.
Illegal vending by several persons in and around the market will also be addressed, said Minister Whittaker who cited the need for law and order. The issue of the staffers (a clerk, two labourers and a driver) affected by the non- payment of salaries would be addressed via the Finance Ministry, Minister Whittaker promised.