Fourteen city communities in experimental clean-up campaign

Stabroek News
January 28, 2000

In an experimental exercise the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has allocated sums of money to leaders of 14 communities to assist in self-help work in their areas.

The M&CC yesterday took members of the media, the council and M&CC employees on a tour of four of the 14 areas for a first-hand look at work done or the lack of work.

PPP councillor Victor Sobers explained that his group in Kingston received $300,000 and had started a cleaning exercise from Water Street to Parade Street. He showed some of the drains in Barrack Street which had been cleared. However, he said, drains on the southern side of the street, although cleaned were not draining the water properly. A contractor had not only thrown builders' waste in the drain, but had also fenced it off preventing the water from flowing. Persons had also thrown refuse including food boxes in the alleyway on the southern side, contributing further to the blocking of the drains.

A Good and Green Guyana councillor, Llewellyn John noted that the throwing of builders' waste in the drain as well as the blocking of the drains by a fence was illegal. He said the council should move to institute legal action against the contractor.

He added that there were many such incidents and members of the M&CC had met Chancellor of the Judiciary, Cecil Kennard, to ensure that the court cooperates with the council in applying the kind of penalty that would be a deterrent to this type of behaviour.

According to John, the M&CC had to expend $127,000 to clear builders' waste thrown by one person alone.

PNC councillor Desmond Moses exhibited work done in the Campbellville Housing Scheme area. Drains on one side of the road had been cleaned. Work was also underway to clear an area which used to be a dump site. According to Moses, the project was undertaken by the community with funds from the council as well as money raised by the community. He declined to say how much money was allocated by the M&CC.

Moses explained that when the area was cleared it would be used by women and children. At present there is no place for the children to play except in the street. He also identified another area close by, which he said the community would like to convert into a park for senior citizens. The area is covered by heavy vegetation.

Three bridges were built and some drains were also cleaned in the Lodge area.

No work was visible at Lamaha Park, East La Penitence which was the fourth community visited. A resident who said she was a member of the Community Development Committee (CDC) told the councillors that someone in the community had received the sum of $300,000 to do work in the area but nothing was done.

The resident said it was only after she and other residents had gone to the Justice for All programme on CNS Channel 6, to complain about the drains and the road that they learnt that the money had been allocated to someone in the community.

The M&CC councillors acknowledged allocating the money to a "community leader." They promised that the matter would be looked into and whatever action was needed would be taken.

The tasks undertaken in the areas visited represented a very small percentage of work needed to be done in these communities. Even as the various persons proudly pointed out sections of drains and alleyways cleaned, those nearby that were not cleaned were far greater.

Public Relations Officer of the M&CC, Royston King, explained that the exercise was an experimental one with the council attempting to get members of the community more involved in keeping their surroundings clean.

He said the M&CC did not have the resources needed to do all the work. The council had hoped that this new exercise would help in getting some of these works done at a minimal cost.

King explained that this was just the first phase and more areas would be cleaned during the other phases.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples