Controversial container fee slashed from $25,000 to $5000 – M&CC

first_imgThe controversial ,000 container fee was slashed to 00 as an interim measure following discussions last Friday between Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) and the Private Sector Commission (PSC).Town Clerk Royston King said in a statement that discussions and deliberations on the issue concluded with those in attendance proposing that the Council reduce the container fee to 00 as an interim measure.“It will be collected at the source, at the various Ports and Wharves, effective 1st of August, 2016,” King said.He said that the meeting, held in an atmosphere of understanding and cooperation, also examined other issues.The blocked entrance of John Fernandes Wharf after fee standoffOn July 19, the M&CC blocked several streets in Georgetown and its environs, demanding that a $25,000 fee be paid for each container to traverse the city streets.The management staff of John Fernandes Terminal had told Guyana Times that they were approached by Deputy Town Clerk Sherry Jerrick on behalf of the M&CC and were informed that all laden container trucks must pay a fee of $25,000 to traverse the city streets or be blocked at the wharves.M&CC officials were also present outside the Muneshwer’s Wharf, where they also prevented container trucks from entering or leaving the location unless the $25,000 fee was paid.While there, Deputy Town Clerk Jerrick told the media that the City Council was merely invoking Numbers 273 and 274 of its by-laws with respect to the use of its roads by vehicles of a “certain weight”.However, the Council was forced to abandon the demand after Shipping Association of Guyana (SAG) moved to the High Court challenging the M&CC’s decision to impose the new fee.The SAG in its court documents filed, emphasised that the Municipal and Municipal District Councils Act, Ch 28:01 and by-laws does not provide for the imposition of such a tax.According to the Notice of Motion, the SAG through Attorneys Sase Gunraj and Christopher Ram, sought to have an Order or Rule Nisi of Certiorari directed to Royston King, Town Clerk of the City of Georgetown, quashing the decision made on July 19, 2016 to block and/or impede access of vehicles transporting shipping containers on streets within the City of Georgetown unless a fee of $25,000 per container is paid.This application was made on the grounds that the decision is contrary to and in violation of Municipal and Municipal District Councils Act, Ch 28:01 and by-laws made there under, is biased, without jurisdiction, made in bad faith, is unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, mala fide, malicious, vindictive, unlawful, ultra vires, null, void and of no legal effect.The SAG is seeking for Town Clerk Royston King to show some cause as to why the said Order or Rule Nisi of Certiorari should not be made absolute. The PSC in an earlier statement had said that it was increasingly concerned at the approach of the M&CC to make such decisions to raise revenue, which negatively impacts the business community and the citizens of Georgetown, without any public consultation and without due process within the law.It went on to say too that it is cognisant of the city requiring sufficient revenue to be run efficiently; however, the Council should take an inclusive approach by engaging stakeholders in the decision-making process, which will serve the interest of all parties.Nevertheless, the PSC Commission said it was looking forward to further discussions on the matter with the hope it results in a sensible and professional resolution reflecting the mutual interests of the business community, the citizens and the municipality.It appears that the most recent meetings and discussions between the PSC and M&CC were reflective of such.last_img

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