The Private Sector Commission (PSC) has expressed concerns over the “manifest approach of the Mayor and City Council to making decisions with regard to the administration of the municipality and, in particular, the raising of revenue, which negatively impact on the business community and the citizens of Georgetown, in isolation from public consultation and without due process within the law”.
On Tuesday last (19th July, 2016), the Town Clerk directed his officers and the Constabulary to barricade the entrances of a number of shipping wharves preventing the movement of vehicles transporting containers on the city streets.
In a statement issued earlier today, the PSC said that it appears that this show of force was with the express intention of enforcing a decision of the Council to impose a G$25000 fee on the consignees of cargo being transported in containers.
The PSC said that only last month, it had reason to express the sector’s concern over the controversy which has arisen over the M&CC’s attempt to impose a contract to install parking meters without due transparency and public consultation.
“The PSC, on being alerted to what can only be described as official harassment of members of the business community to bully them into paying a fee which, according to the legal advice obtained by the Commission, is unlawful, immediately, late on Wednesday, invited the Town Clerk to a meeting with its Council and members of the Shipping Association to which he readily consented.
“The meeting facilitated a frank, open and generally informative exchange of views on the matter. The PSC looks forward to further discussion on the matter, hopefully, resulting in a sensible and professional resolution reflecting the mutual interests of the business community, the citizens and the Municipality”, the statement noted.
The PSC said that it fully recognises that the recently elected Mayor and City Councilors face a significant challenge in restoring the discipline essential to the good order and sound administration of the capital city and are to be credited with the visible progress made in a relatively short time .
“The Commission wishes, however, to remind the Council that the business sector and residents of the city are its means of revenue and that partnership and consultation is infinitely preferable to confrontation and unlawful behaviour in the name of revenue collection,” added the statement.