Jul 22, 2016 News
By Jacquey Bourne
During a heated consultation held recently at the Egbert Benjamin Exhibition and Conference Centre, Linden Mayor Carwyn Holland made it clear that with the opening of the toll booth there will be Police ranks, GRA Officers, GEA Officers and Customs Officers.
Stakeholders present considered this decision to be draconian. They noted that it is not a toll booth that the Mayor will be reopening but a ‘Port of Entry’.
Linden Mayor, Carwyn Holland, said that anything which affects Linden ultimately affects him.
“I believe the return of the Toll Booth having the building by-Laws etc, was out of place for a number of years. Many of us would recall why at the time it was taken away from us. Between then and now we have an idea of how much revenue the council would have lost. Meanwhile many big businesses would have benefitted from Linden, the roadways etc., toll free.”
The Mayor said that because the by-laws included draconian measures for the Linden businesses, he asked that certain by-laws be removed.
Holland noted that the Minister has to make the final recommendation and it is the council that will have to make sub laws through the statutory meeting. That was already done.
He claimed that he had made a recommendation that all Linden-registered businesses not pay the toll each and every time they pass, but recommended twice a year payment. He also noted that he cannot remember exactly the point directly pertaining to Lindeners because it was a long time ago. When asked to produce documents to support this, because it was recorded in the minutes of the statutory meetings, he asked the Town Clerk to confirm.
Town Clerk Jonellor Bowen said that she could recall that a meeting was held but could not remember anything mentioning specifically about Linden businesses. She emphasized the fact that a meeting was held but cannot recall any mention of the Linden businesses.
Former Mayor, Councilor and Businessman, Winston Smith, said that no Linden business paid any toll previously. He then asked the Mayor if according to him no Linden business will be affected by the new by-laws then why keep it on the books.
Smith asked if the Toll Booth is now reopening, then where are the old by-laws that governed.
However the Town Clerk said “I came here and met by-laws that were handed down to me, and in September or October 2013 the then Minister of Public Works Norman Whittaker sent a letter saying that the by-laws are null and void because they weren’t gazetted.
“However with the new council they have the opportunity to look at the by-laws, to modify and to do whatever is necessary.”
One stakeholder, Herbert Ralph, said that the Council has the responsibility to vet the recommendations for a position to be taken to Georgetown.
Ralph noted that he would have expected that consultations would have been one of the primary processes, and after the consultations, a small body of people would have analyzed the information provided. They would then come up with what would be a consensus position that is workable within the community.
Ralph queried, “How much autonomy does the Town Council have in the new scheme of things, because it seems very troubling. I hope the Town Council has the teeth to bite and not just the mouth to speak”.
“My belief is that the council is still to grapple with the concept of drafting legislation. I think they are basically trying to garner revenue without going through the legal concept of fine-tuning the draft of the by-laws.
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