Cooperative Republic of Guyana

Corriverton municipality moving to update its laws

Mayor of Corriverton, Ganesh Gangadin, speaking at the recent local government forum at the Central Corentyne Chambers of Commerce in Corentyne, Berbice

GINA, GUYANA, Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Mayor and Town Council of Corriverton, Berbice wants to update the laws governing the municipality, and is seeking Central Government’s support.

“We inherited a set of problems that only legislative reform can fix,” were the sentiments expressed by Corriverton’s mayor, Ganesh Gangadin in a recent interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA).

The mayor is of the view that tackling the town’s outdated laws and implementing new ones are essential for the modernisation of the municipality.

Under the law, municipalities’ councils must have their own building by-laws that would provide residents with a guide on how they should build. Gangadin said that such a by-law was never completed in New Amsterdam and the municipality has been heavily reliant on the building guidelines set out in the Health Ordinance Act.

He explained that in trying to prosecute some offenders, in the past, the Magistrate Court threw out some good cases for the council because of the fact that the municipality did not have its own building by-laws.

He said that Corriverton is seeking to address this, but “at present we are a bit short; we do not have the technical capacity to handle it.” Gangadin said therefore the town is seeking help from Central Government. He explained that the Ministry is asking that legal support be provided to the municipality through the Ministry of Communities   for the crafting of the town’s building by-laws.

Also on the municipality’s legislative agenda is the crafting of other new pieces of laws, including one on solid waste, Gangadin said. “We don’t want to take away anything from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but if we have our own Act, we can prosecute and the fines remain in our council,” he explained.

The mayor further noted that through such an Act, the municipality would be able to address implementation of more modern practices in the town’s garbage collection and disposal system, “but again we do not have the technical and legal competencies to address it.”

The municipality is also seeking support in the Scavenger Act.  Gangadin explained that under the Scavenger Act, if a person is guilty of a particular offence, he or she is fined a meagre $80. He said that due to this paltry fine, importance is not placed on pursuing cases in court. Gangadin said that this needs to be changed immediately.

The Corriverton mayor said that in order for the municipality to move forward, “violators would have to be sent a serious message.”

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