‘Protection’ offered to city workers who want to testify against Council

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Employees desirous of filing complaints against the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) can rest assured that they will not be victimized or face reprisal.

This is according to the Deputy Chairman of Local Government Commission (LGC), Andrew Garnett, who says the Commission, as well as the workers’ union, can guarantee protection.

He provided the assurance shortly after the swearing in of retired Chancellor Justice Cecil Kennard as the lone Commissioner on the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into City Hall.

“Workers have complained and their unions have complained. They are under the protection of their union and they’re under the protection of the Local Government Commission. There can be no reprisal, there can be no acts of victimization in the case of workers who exercise their right to complain about working conditions or deprivation of benefits,” Garnett assured Tuesday at the Commission’s Eping Avenue, Georgetown office.

Justice Cecil Kennard

Among the issues to be addressed by the COI is the failure of the M&CC to remit employees’ PAYE and NIS. Retired employees have also complained about not receiving their pension and other benefits, Garnett told had News Room on Monday.

The COI will begin public hearings next week at the Critchlow Labour College but persons can begin filing complaints against City Hall now.

An officer is stationed at the college which is located on Woolford Avenue and the deadline for submission of those complaints is Friday, September 21.

Businessmen, as well as Government agencies like the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), have already raised concerns about the management and operations at M&CC, Garnett had noted in an interview with this online publication.

Fielding questions from the media on Tuesday, Garnett also assured that there is no political agenda in the execution of this COI.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that there is no political interference, that there is no political influence, there is no political agenda. We are carrying out our mandate as constituted in the Local Government Act and we do so fearlessly and without bias,” he posited.

The COI was launched by the LGC which comprises of members nominated by the President, Opposition Leader, and the Parliament.

Justice Kennard said he will work expeditiously to have a list of recommendations presented to the LGC by October 31. He cautioned that the speed of the investigation would be dependent on the witnesses and testimonies received.

The decision to launch a COI into City Hall was taken in April this year but the Commission was waiting on the availability of Justice Kennard who was otherwise occupied.

Town Clerk, Royston King was ordered to administration leave pending the outcome of the COI.

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