Controversy over City’s Carnival expense; workers still to be paid
At a statutory meeting on Monday at City Hall, Secretary for Social Development at the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), Wesley Adams revealed that the expenses relating to the just concluded Guyana Carnival were more than the profits made from the sale of vending spots.
The interim financial report for 2019 Carnival was presented to the Mayor and Councillors but the Councillors were not satisfied with its findings and asked that it be reviewed again.
Adams revealed that $1, 067,000 was garnered from the sale of spots, with $140, 000 owed by major beverage companies. Expenditure to date is $1, 175, 050.
Adams said the M&CC had an agreement with the organizers of the Carnival to assist City Hall with some of the expenses.
“We had an understanding with the organizers of this event that whatever was our shortfall they would have put in the balance; so we had an agreement of $500,000 for two spots that they should have paid us up front for and also $1.6M that they should bring to the table to assist us to offset our expenses,” Adams said.
Councillor Heston Bostwick said: “I prefer the Committee sit again and look at this matter because there was a report before where we have on record that 1700 spots were marked.”
However, out of the 1700 spots, 215 were not used.
Adams said it was also the estimate for cleaning from the Solid Waste Director which resulted in some of the expenses.
Mayor Ubraj Narine said that the financial report lacks accountability.
“I believe that if you submit maybe a balance and expenditure and all these things, it will (give) a fair idea (to) Councilors,” the Mayor said while agreeing that the Council is not pleased with the financial report.
Another Councillor, Oscar Clarke, suggested that the format of presenting the financial reports needs to change, “so we can easily understand what has happened.”
It was also revealed that persons who worked for the M&CC during the Carnival period are yet to be paid.
The Secretary could not say how many persons were employed by the M&CC for that period but noted that in excess of $700,000 needs to be paid in salaries.
Town Clerk (ag) Sharon Harry-Munroe said there was a decision at the Committee level to pay workers from the Council within nine days of work, while the Treasurer of the City Council John Douglas said the workers have not been paid because there were concerns that some of the workers whose names were on the list did not show up for work.
Harry-Munroe in an effort to settle the issue said: “If the Mayor and Councillors are not satisfied that the report is clear and there is no accountability it would be my recommendation that yes, it goes back, it be deferred and persons not be paid until everybody is clear.”