– $1.5M per month proposal made; councillors argue sum too little
Officials of the Mayor and City Councillors (M&CC) of Georgetown are at odds over a proposal to lease a prime piece of property under its control. The property under contention was essentially used to train officers attached to the City Constabulary.
The Council has been offered $1.5 million per month to lease the grounds of the City Constabulary Training Complex located on Water Street, Georgetown.
However during a hearing of the Full Council yesterday, City officials appeared split in their views as it relates to the complex, which has been out of operations since 2014.
While many officers supported the decision to lease what they believe will garner some much needed funds for the Municipality, others sought to clarity details of the proposal made and whether the Council was selling itself short on the sum offered.
For one, Town Clerk (ag) Sherry Jerrick noted that while she has no issue with the property being leased, she is curious about its actual value.
Jerrick noted that a valuation of the property would give the Council a better idea on how much money the premises is actually worth and how much it should be leased for.
“I am saying for the record to the Council that the value of the property should be known before it is leased,” Jerrick said
During the discussion, former Mayor Patricia Chase-Green shared similar sentiments. She noted that if the Council moves to lease or sell the Complex, it should be done by way of public interest.
She stressed too that the Council must take into consideration that the facility although out of operationfor sometime due to the deteriorating conditions, still has value to the City Constabulary.
“The City Constabulary Department still needs a training Centre, so I would advise the Council to take that into consideration when thinking of any offer as it relates to that building.”
Councillor Oscar Clarke supported Chase-Green’s notion. He said it is only fair that provisions are made for the City Constabulary to house its training operations elsewhere before the facility is leased.
“I agree that we cannot have this asset sitting there laying waste and the Council needs money, but if it should be leased, ensure that the City Constabulary must benefit from funds collected. The constabulary still needs a training complex and the Council should designate another building for the officers to enhance their skills before finalizing any deal in this regard, “added Clarke.
Other Councillors who added their voice to the discussion, asked the Council to consider getting a higher sum for a lease on the property considering the location.
“I am sure that the property has more value that. The Council can easily get double that amount for the complex given the size and location,” one officer added.
Another official noted that added to that, given the waterfront location of the complex, the value of the property is likely to increase.
“With Guyana’s burgeoning oil and gas sector, the value of waterfront properties in the city are set to increase considerably, I believe the Council should keep its options open for better deals.”
The Council was scheduled to vote on the proposal to lease the complex yesterday but opted to have the matter undergo further deliberations at a committee level given the grumblings coming from the councillors.
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