In the interest of greater transparency and accountability, the Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine, has insisted that all receipts issued by the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) be affixed it’s Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
During a recent statutory meeting, Narine demanded an answer from City Treasurer, John Douglas, why the current receipts are not carrying City Hall’s TIN. The Mayor pointed out to the fact that the laws governing the municipality require for TIN to be affixed to the receipts.
The new Mayor urged that this practice be implemented, even for vendors who have to be issued receipts. He noted that the M&CC had previously taken a decision to have one general receipt issued to all those doing business with the municipality.
In addition, to building financial transparency and accountability, the Council also passed a motion to establish an audit committee.
The motion was brought to the table at the statutory meeting. It was moved by Councillor Denroy Tudor and seconded by Councillor Eon Bollers who cited the need for the committee.
Tudor added that the motion for the establishment of the audit committee will see a revitalization of transparency within the municipality and the “re-cultivation of hope” in administrative work. He emphasized this is just a first step in the right direction to ensure that a new page is turned to implemented best practices of accounting.
“This committee, once established, will help to provide the necessary oversight that is needed at this point in time for council. This committee, as the name states, is focused on providing clarity to auditing practices and ensuring that the practices are utilised, not only at the level of council but can be a template for other municipalities not only in Guyana but certainly regionally. So, with that being said, I stand in support of the motion to be passed,” Tudor said.
Mayor Narine said the committee would help the council better address matters such as terms of reference.
`“Persons who will be elected to the Committee will not make decisions behind the council’s back but to bring the terms of references before the councillors to be vetted in order to move forward,” Mayor Narine said.
Councillor Bowlers said that the present council has taken note of the past controversies and lack of transparency and did not want to follow in those footprints. He reiterated that City Hall had experienced a shortage of funds and it is important that funds are properly managed through the birth of an audit committee.
“This oversight Committee would ensure the accuracy of all financial records, regulations and transactions to be in order compared to international and local accounting practices and standards. It is also in the best interest of our constituents, which is the residents of Georgetown that we have transparency and accountability.”
This will be the first time,` also, that the council establishes tender and solid waste committees. The motions were also passed to aid in promoting transparency at the council on solid waste and tendering which will also allow for two separate committees to be set up to oversee the sectors.
Last year at the inauguration ceremony of the newly elected Mayor and Councillors, Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, had urged them to take a new course of action to return Georgetown to its former glory. The minister stressed that transformation would only be possible with commitment, removal of apportioning blame and taking full action to hit the reset button.
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