City Treasurer blames taxpayers of M&CC financial woes

first_imgActing City Treasurer John Douglas testified before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) on Wednesday, after he was subpoenaed to provide documents and a statement into the financial affairs at the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).Douglas has been tasked with the responsibility of handling the financial affairs of the entity since the first quarter of this year after City Treasurer Ron Almont would have withdrawn from his duties for medical reasons.It was in that instance that he blamed taxpayers’ for the lack of funds at City Hall, which has led to billions of dollars in outstanding debts and the Council barely finding funds to pay its employees.The Council would have tried to retrieve some of the monies that were owed by taxpayers and other stakeholders during an amnesty but according to Douglas, it is not something that he would recommend. He believes that a one-on-one consultation should be convened with these stakeholders, so as to decide on aMayor Patricia Chase Greenpayment plan.At that time, the acting City Treasurer sought to point out that there is always a shortfall in their budget, which should not be, adding that the Council is always in a struggle to pay its workers and as such, they have to weigh their options when it comes to paying entities such as the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).It was admitted that they do owe their main solid waste collectors a minimal of $150M.As it relates to the auditing, Douglas explained that the lack of information and documents are the main reasons why there hasn’t been accurate and substantial record-keeping of the City Hall’s spending.Irregular paymentsA former accounts manager and current employee at the M&CC also testified about payment procedures at City Hall, noting that irregular payments have been made in the past.The witness, Edwana Miller, told the CoI that there are also instances where steps in the disbursement of monies can be skipped.It was explained that the City Treasurer would prepare the vouchers, which would be sent to the Finance Sub-Committee for approval. After the sum is granted, the Town Clerk and City Treasurer would be the main signatories on the documents and the payments would be made thereafter. This is the standard operation for payments that are above $2000 in value.When asked by the Commission as to whether these steps can be skipped or if the system can be expedited, Miller posited, “Yes, it can… stages can be skipped.”She was also probed into whether irregular payments have been made to which she responded, “The answer to that is yes.”At that time, Miller also explained the importance of having an individual withActing City Treasurer John Douglassuitable qualifications to manage the City Treasury, given the fact that this has not been done in the past. The Deputy Town Clerk, Sharon Harry-Munroe has acted on three occasions while the City Treasurer was on leave.The former accounts manager showed her dissatisfaction with the manner in which revenue and other incomes are being managed by the Council as she said, “If you don’t plan and control your income, your expenses will always be more…”A yearly audit was also recommended along with plans in place to remedy the non-payment of benefits to retired workers. Since the commencement of the Inquiry, many retired employees of the Council have claimed that they were not paid any benefits after paying contributions for many years.Miller would have served in the City Treasury Department for several years and was asked to act as the City Treasurer as of this year. However, she refused the post, stating, “if the document in front of me does not state what it is supposed to state, I will state that it is not right.”After that encounter, she was removed from the department and placed in the Market Department to “overlook a project.” Consequently, it has been almost a year and that project has not yet materialised.Meanwhile, other witnesses have similarly called for accountability and proper supervision of the generated funds, which they believe can only be successfully managed by a suitably qualified individual.In the coming week, Mayor Patricia Chase Green, City Engineer Colvern Venture and Town Clerk Royston King will be summoned before their Commission.Legal Assistant Sherwin Benjamin proceeded to highlight sections of the Municipal and District Councils Act (Chapter 28:01) which speaks to those who may try to evade the CoI after being subpoenaed.The probe is expected to conclude on October 31.last_img read more

6th annual Bakewell competition gets underway

first_imgBakery giants Bakewell have stayed true to their commitment of fittingly memorialising their founder Naeem Nasir by reinstalling a tournament in one of his favourite sport disciplines, lawn tennis.The annual Bakewell Junior Lawn Tennis tournament affords exposure opportunity to players under the age of eighteen. This year’s competition has three categories: Under 12, Under 14 and Under 18.The gathering at the simple opening ceremony, which was held at the National Racquet Center in Georgetown, heard from veteran player and Coach Shelly Daly Ramdyhan that the late Nasir was very fond of the sport and had gone above and beyond to ensure that players were given equal opportunity at competing or training overseas.“In memory of him, we would have this tournament,” Daly Ramdyhan stated in her heartfelt reflection on Nasir.Also speaking at the opening was Guyana Lawn Tennis Association (GLTA) representative Dylan Fraser, who took the time to praise Bakewell for continuing to honour its founder’s memory and his commitment to the sport.“GLTA believes that it is important to maintain this type of partnership and sponsorship coming from our private partners, and it only shows how committed they are to making sure that this sport maintains its reputation and will always have that presence here in Guyana,” Fraser stated.As such, he noted that the competition is set at a critical age group for development, stating, “And there’s no better way than to start it from the grassroots.”The matches are expected to be hosted at the Racquet Center in Georgetown, at Le Ressouvenir on the East Coast and at the GBTI Court at Diamond, East Bank.In the first weekend’s action, the Under 18 Boys’ category saw Kareem Bunbury recording a win against Joshua Kalekyezi. For the girls, Kalyca Fraser defeated Alana Chung 6-2, 6-1.Under-14 action involved Saskia Persaud overcoming Reshida Hardy in a 5-3 4-0 result. For the Under-14 boys, Jeremiah Siland registered a win against Gerald Scotland 4-2, 3-5, (10/5).Vadeanand Resauk overpowered his opponent Nigel Lowe 5-3, 4-1, and Wayne Baker made light work of Adesh Khayyam 5-3, 4-1.Under 12 boys featured Hayden Mentore winning a 4-2, 4-0 match against Denzil Luther; Jaideon Viera overcoming Nathan De Nobrega 4-1, 4-0; Gerald Scotland defeating Nathan De Nobrega 4-2, 4-0, and Ricky Romanscindo overpowering Elwyn Levius 4-1, 4-2.Additionally, Hayden Mentore also registered a win against Elwyn Levius 4-0, 5-3.On the female side, Saskia Fraser made light work of Malia Maikoo 4-0, 4-0; Reshida Hardy dusted Norella Jordan 4-0, 4-0; Paula Kalekyezi powered her way to a 4-0,4-0 win against Renola Jordan, and Menishki Jaikisson also won against Renola Jordan 4-2, 4-1.Other matches saw Heimraj Resaul defeating Khalid Gobin 6-2, 6-4; Viraj Sharma defeating Devine Kalekyezi 6-1, 6-1; Donnie Anderson defeating Toshan Jumana, while Ronaldo Alexander received a ‘walk over’ in his scheduled match against Jordan Beaton.last_img read more

Wounded vets shortchanged, Congress told

first_imgFor example, there would be a single medical exam to evaluate injuries; the military and VA now do separate exams. Wounded service members and their families would receive lifetime health care coverage. Those with post-traumatic stress disorder would be eligible for lifetime treatment. Relatives could take up to 12 months off from their jobs to help with care. The proposals are similar to legislation that President George W. Bush sent to Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Shalala said Bush’s recommendations would cost more and add to the commission’s proposals. Bush said Tuesday that his administration has put in place many of the recommendations from the Dole-Shalala commission. But a Government Accountability Office report released last month cited poor communication between the VA and Pentagon on patient records; persistent backlogs on benefit payments to veterans; and staff shortages that mean nearly half of returning veterans lack access to personalized care medical units promoted by the Army. WASHINGTON – The leaders of a presidential commission that reported on poor treatment of wounded war veterans recommended Wednesday expanding and streamlining the benefit system for those with potentially life-altering injuries. Former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., and Donna Shalala, health secretary in the Clinton administration, outlined changes that would require action by Congress. They include payments for wounded troops to help with the transition into civilian life; compensation for loss in earnings their injuries might cause; and coverage that, for the first time, takes into account changes in quality of life. Shalala said the current system of disability payments is outdated and mired in bureaucratic problems that confuse veterans and fails to compensate for how a combat-related injury will affect their daily lives. The system is overseen by the Pentagon and the Veterans Affairs Department. The proposals were among 34 from the Dole-Shalala commission this year. They would simplify evaluating the injuries of troops wounded in combat-related service and provide a lifetime annuity for those who can no longer serve. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more


first_imgJOANNE-Sweeney Burke tonight won the CD and promotion task on The Apprentice.Stepping up as project manager, the media company owner was right at home on the hit TV3 show.And the Donegal business woman led her team to victory with a cooly-designed CD which will be given away with a newspaper this Saturday. The judges from the paper liked the design and name of the music CD – although Joanne did make a major mistake by not putting the newspaper’s logo on the front cover.But then her Zest team didn’t have much opposition.The younger team created a CD with the dreadful name – Toe Tapping Talent.“It was terrible,” said Apprentice star Bill Cullen. Joanne’s CD – entitled Back Stage Pass – won over the newspaper executives, though they felt a picture of all the bands on the back of the cover looked like a dole queue! (We thought it was cool).During tonight’s filming, the Letterkenny-based 33-year-old said she had left her husband, two children and her other ‘baby’ behind to enter the competition – the ‘baby’ being her business. NEWS: JSB WINS APPRENTICE TASK was last modified: October 11th, 2011 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Joanne Sweeney-BurkeThe ApprenticeTV3last_img read more

Former Liverpool striker David N’Gog bidding to win deal with Bundesliga club

first_imgFormer Liverpool, Swansea and Bolton striker David N’Gog has been handed a trial by Bundesliga club Darmstadt.The 27-year-old, who spent six years in English football, joined Stade Reims from Swansea in 2014 and scored 10 goals in 44 Ligue 1 apoearances.But he has been on the lookout for a new club this summer and has now been handed a chance to impress by German club Darmstadt, who finished 14th in the Bundesliga last season.N’Gog racked up 99 Premier League appearances, scoring 12 goals, across his spells at Liverpool, Bolton and Swansea and could now get given a shot in German football. 1 David N’Gog in action for Guingamp last_img read more