Members of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government and the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) have found themselves embroiled in a contentious dispute over the payment of rates and taxes to the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC), with allegations of corruption emanating from both sides.

During a press conference held yesterday by the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Member Ganesh Mahipaul levelled accusations against the Central Government, asserting that it has neglected its own tax obligations while influencing many businesses within the city to do the same. He stated, “When you look at the number of people who have failed to pay their taxes and to honour what is enshrined in the law to the local authority area, more specifically the municipality of Georgetown, you’ll realize that it’s the government entities that are within Georgetown and some of the big business also that are aligned within the PPP that have failed to pay their rates and taxes”.

Mahipaul also attributed the revision of the valuation process for properties and the council’s financial struggles to the PPP. Moreover, he criticized the party for failing to allocate the necessary funds required for the council to effectively carry out its duties.

In a recent interview also, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo accused the opposition, which has maintained control over the M&CC for decades, of exploiting the 2017 amnesty period for Georgetown residents as a means to enrich themselves. He remarked, “It was the PNC that gave amnesty. The PNC city council that gave amnesty when people owed a lot of outstanding rates. Well, a lot of those plots are owned by big businessmen. And we know what took place. The amnesty was a scheme for corruption”.

Jagdeo cited specific cases in which individuals owed significant sums in back taxes but were instructed to pay only a fraction of the amount to the city council, coupled with additional bribes to those orchestrating the amnesty within the council. Furthermore, during yesterday’s press conference, he underscored that between November 15 and December 31, 2017, the City Council reported receiving over $127 million in back taxes. However, according to Jagdeo, a substantial portion of that sum was allegedly diverted as bribes and kickbacks to certain opposition stakeholders who held positions on the Council at the time.

The Vice President has been keen to highlight the opposition’s persistent complaints regarding inadequate funding for the City Council., asserting that when the Central Government provides funds to the opposition-led City Council, the allocation is mismanaged, resulting in priority projects being left dormant.

Jagdeo has also disclosed that the City Council holds responsibility for all road works within the city. However, since 2020, the Central Government has taken on this responsibility due to the council’s failure to fulfil its duties in this regard.


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