City to make another bid to move vendors

Stabroek News
February 28, 2000

"Move or be moved", is the warning from the office of Town Clerk, Beulah Williams, directed to street and pavement vendors in the Guyana capital Georgetown. Notices were sent out in mid February telling these vendors that "any structure found after six o'clock in the evening on the city's roads and pavements would be removed and wherever possible broken down by staff attached to the city council..." The Town Clerk has said that she is acting under the by-law which deals with encumbrances in the city, which takes in reserves, roadways and the commercial areas. Last Saturday it was brought to the attention of the Town Clerk that a group of vendors from Water Street visited city hall threatening to resist any moves to clear the area of the unsightly structures.

From today members of the city constabulary with support staff from the City Engineer's Department are being mobilised to launch the removal exercise. I hope that councillors would avoid their usual political posturing and back the Town Clerk.

The Prince and the Mayor
Mayor Hamilton Green outdid himself last Thursday when he welcomed His Royal Highness Prince Charles to the city of Georgetown at a civic reception held in the concert hall. To put things in perspective that part of the Prince's visit coming after he had called on President Bharrat Jagdeo, shortly after his arrival was scheduled to be short with the Prince being presented with "a symbolic key to the city..." following welcoming remarks from the 'Chief Citizen'

According to the programme the Prince was then expected to thank the mayor and then sign the visitors book ... with no provision made for remarks from the recipient since he was scheduled to visit St George's cathedral and later deliver a speech at the launching of the Guyana Youth Business Trust.

Mayor Green obviously recognising that those of us who had packed the renovated concert hall wanted to hear more than a thank you from Prince Charles, delivered a speech which was so crafted that the Royal visitor was compelled to respond to certain parts of the 'Chief Citizen's' presentation.

Said the mayor ... "On behalf of our citizens, I willl shortly ask you to accept a key that will open all doors, and unlock every heart to you ... This hand-made key we offer you, was taken from the bowels of our hinterland and is the quintessence of gold ..."

And he went on ... "In a sense this golden key vindicates Sir Walter Raleigh, who, in 1617 sailed to Guiana, in search of the fabled gold-rich region of El Dorado and the golden city ... His son Walter was killed in the Orinoco ... on his return without gold, he was retried on the old charge of treason and beheaded..."

Dressed in a light grey Nehru type suit the mayor continued ... "I pray that our gesture will serve to help people, everywhere to idolise less, material things such as gold, but instead to use them, as we are doing today, as symbols to show respect and affection, indeed as our noble ancestors did ... "We look forward to the day when these objects will no longer drive men to greed, violence and plunder ..."

The 'Chief Citizen' after giving a short history lesson about Britain's relations with her colonies included this personal note in his speech ... "Towards the end of the 19th century during the height of the Victorian era, the British Empire comprised more than 25 per cent of the world's peoples ... At that time even liberal Britons would have dismissed the notion that, one day, the descendant of an African slave, ironically, with an English and Christian name, could, with sincerity and warmth, welcome a member of the Royal family in a former colony and a territory we claim to own and control ..." In another personal reference mayor Green reminded the Prince that both of them are 'Scorpions' under the zodiac suggesting a sharing of the same views and habits.

In closing, Mayor Green asked the Creator to give the Prince "the strength and wisdom to remain in the vanguard, helping to keep our world safe, clean, good and green ..." His political mentor L.F.S.B. would have been pleased.

His Royal Highness a man who never refuses a challenge while admitting that time would not allow him to get into the historical aspects of the Mayor's speech was obliged to say more than just "thank you".

A job well done
The city's concert hall was restored to its old glory in time for the royal visit and I understand the deputy city engineer Mrs Beverly Johnson, was the moving spirit behind the restoration. She was assisted by Town Clerk Mrs Beulah Williams and the chairman of the Social Development Committee Councillor Mrs Pat Chase-Green.

These women with support from city council workers have performed what could be described as a miracle. Just a few weeks ago mayor Green told a statutory meeting of the council that the Prince had nothing to see if his schedule called for a tour of the concert hall ... Well the 'chief citizen' was proven wrong and having received the support for the interior decorations, handicraft and paintings from the popular art dealer Camo Williams and comfortable and modern seating accommodation for the occasion from Courts ... this column invites the three ladies to take a bow ...