…Secrecy surrounding finances unacceptable – Chris Ram
By Abena Rockcliffe- Campbell
It seems as if revelations about how the Mayor, Town Clerk and head of the Finance Committee dealt with the parking meter project represent just the tip of the iceberg.
Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan has made some more damning revelations about the state of affairs at City Hall during his appearance on the televised programme, Plain Talk. This show is hosted by anti-corruption advocate Christopher Ram.
Among other issues, Duncan gave an insight into the level of secrecy on the council.
Duncan said that councilors are left in the dark on too many issues. He noted that the Mayor and City Council has five accounts. However, councillors are only given reports about one account.
Kaieteur News understands that a financial report is given to the Council once a month, and that report only contains information about one of the accounts.
A People’s Progressive Party/Civic councillor has even gone as far as to move a motion to have the information given to the councillors. But, Town Clerk Royston King found a problem with the motion and told the councillor that it cannot stand. The councillor has vowed to return with another motion.
On Plain Talk, Duncan expressed dissatisfaction with how the council is being run. He said that it seems as if some who sit on the council do not have the best interest of the city at heart. He added, “It is as if they feel no obligation to the people and that is saddening”.
Duncan said that the city could have already started to make significant progress, if only the key players were interested in making a difference. Also, Duncan told Ram that before Local Government Elections he spoke about the need for an audit at City Hall, he did same during the lead-up to elections and continues to echo that call. Duncan said that now that he has become a member of the Council, he sees the need for an audit more than ever.
Yesterday Kaieteur News contacted Ram to get his view on the first hand update he has been given on the state of affairs down at City Hall. Ram said that he could not have been more dissatisfied.
The attorney at law said that it is clear that the councillors are not taking their obligation to the city seriously. He said that there are clear breaches of their statutory duties as councillors.
Ram opined that some are acting quite irresponsibly and the behavior of the council is bordering on recklessness. “It is indeed troubling.”
The anti-corruption advocate said that something must be done, and questioned, “Are we going to tolerate this for almost another three years?
Ram, the immediate former president of the Guyana Bar Association, an auditor, a talk show host, a member of Transparency Guyana and a strong independent voice against corruption, is often in touch with the people on the ground.
He said that an overwhelming number of people he spoke with only see the current state of affairs at City Hall as a continuation of what was happening before Local Government Election.
He said that those who made an effort to change things by voting are very disappointed.
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