Jul 22, 2013 News
– IMC enforcing by-law to pay staff minimum wage
By Keeran Danny
Efforts by Linden’s municipality to meet the minimum wage requirement for staffers are hurting the pockets of truckers passing through the township.
The by-laws that cater for fees such as vending, trucking, and fuel tankers were not being rigidly enforced. As such, the Mayor and Town Council was forced to tighten enforcement to ensure funds are raised to pay staff and meet other expenses.
But truckers are displeased with this scenario and are questioning why they have to pay to enter Linden, which is a part of Guyana.
According to a truck driver, he was never informed about the fees to enter Linden until Saturday when he was stopped by employees of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Mayor and Town Council.
“I coming out and all of a sudden I see these two men pull two barriers across the road and I want know what going on…So one of the men asked if I pay to go in and I said ‘no skipper’, and he tell me I have to pay to come out. But, I didn’t pay; that is craziness,” he said.
The man said this demand of the IMC is uneconomical and is only adding to the high maintenance costs of machineries and services provided.
“Imagine they want I pay $5,000 to enter Linden then I have to pay $1,000 to cross the Linden-Wismar Bridge and then all those crossings. What they think gon happen? Somebody has to bear the cost,” he added.
The man said if persons have to pay to enter Linden, persons coming out of Linden should pay a toll at Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
According to Orrin Gordon, Chairman of the IMC, this by-law was enacted in 1995 and in 2003 the fees were created by the Council. The fees remain the same and are now being rigidly enforced to allow the Council to pay staff the minimum wage of $35,000 monthly.
While the Ministry of Public Works is responsible for the maintenance and construction of public roads in Linden, the IMC is responsible for the community roads. However, with heavy-duty vehicles traversing the various roads, the roads have to be repaired regularly. In addition, other services such as garbage have to be executed with the Council’s limited resources.
Gordon does not believe that the fees being charged are unreasonable or the situation is one of a milking cow. He said only vehicles entering are required to pay the fee. Those exiting do not have to pay. In addition, trucks traversing Linden carry cargo either in or out of Linden and a small sum would not affect operations.
But, according to the driver, sometimes a driver may need to enter Linden several times in one day and would be forced to pay the same toll.
According to Gordon, an arrangement has been worked out with contractors building roads in Linden to pay a smaller amount than required.
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