Councillors not briefed on Stabroek Market project

Guyana Chronicle
August 24, 1999

CITY Councillors are upset by a lack of information about works under way on the Stabroek market.

At yesterday's statutory meeting, they insisted that information be made available to them.

It all started when City Mayor, Mr. Hamilton Green said he was seeking the council's support to repair the century-old steel structure.

He told councillors City Hall may have to divert funds meant for other projects towards the market.

He said the market should be a well-organised business centre. That means improving the infrastructure, expanding the building and relocating the main fire station.

The renovation project should not be seen as patch work to the building, he said.

People's National Congress (PNC), Mr. Desmond Moses allowed the meeting to proceed a little longer and then requested information on the first phase of works which involves removing the southern section of the canopy and beginning renovations there.

As part of that phase, vendors from beneath that part of the canopy have been placed on the periphery of the Stabroek car park.

However, councillors said they have only been learning about these things from the media. This, they said, was not good enough.

Asked about the cost of the project, Green said this has not been determined as yet. Councillors were under the impression that the $50M quoted at the last meeting was the cost.

But Green said this was a mere fraction of the money the project will demand.

He explained that that estimate had been done several years ago and covered only certain works on the structure. Green could not say how much the project will cost.

But Good and Green Guyana (GGG) Councillor, Ms. Patricia Chase-Green said that when the market was closed, a plan should have been ready at the time.

"I don't know what's happening...I would like to know what's going on", she added.

People's National Congress Councillor, Mr. Ranwell Jordan asked for information on how long it will take the City Council to complete the first phase of the market, the cost of the project and where the funds will come from. Also what projects will be affected by the fund diversion.

The Mayor told councillors he has decided to start work to try and avoid a catastrophe.

He then spent much time updating them on the undertaking and added that he has asked the Inter-American Development Bank to make the market priority in the Urban Rehabilitation Programme

On another note, People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/Civic) Councillor, Mr. Ronald Mann expressed concern that the revenue collected from the Stabroek Market has dropped significantly.

In spite of advice given by councillors, nothing was being implemented and councillors get all the blame, he argued.

"All we are making are promises, promises, promises", Mann said.

Clerk of Markets, Mr. Schulder Griffith said the decrease in revenue came because the council no longer collects money from speed boat operators and vendors from the Stabroek car park who were moved.

The recent public servants strike also left its mark on the market, he said.

Earlier, Griffith had complained that the market's massive two tonne iron bell was in danger of collapsing and so was the canopy.

The market's electrical system was also no good, causing frequent fires, he said. (GWEN EVELYN)

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