Second round of bitter debate settles tiff over Orderson letter

City Council Round-up
By Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
May 29, 2000

At last the Babb-Orderson issue has been disposed of, but not before a second round of acrimonious exchanges around the horseshoe table involving Mayor Hamilton Green and two councillors belonging to his Good and Green Guyana party (GGG).

When councillors met last Monday they had to consider a document authorised by the mayor, which urged them to look at the Babb-Orderson issue objectively and without emotion. "Only the truth, and a proper analysis could avoid inequity and save us from decision and mockery..." the document pointed out...

According to the `chief citizen' the catalogue of events started with a letter from Mr. Waynewright Orderson who is the council's systems analyst and also a former member of the City Jammers steelband.

"His strident reply..." said mayor Green "provided the catalyst for all that followed." This reply was in response to a letter sent to Orderson by Ms. Letitia Babb, assistant Town Clerk in connection with the operations of the steel band and seeking an explanation. The systems analyst in his reply had questioned Ms. Babb's authority within the municipality.

At the council's statutory meeting on May 8th, the mayor found himself isolated when he didn't go along with a call from a majority of councillors from all three political parties represented on the council demanding an apology from Mr. Orderson.

That meeting ended up in a standoff between the 'chief citizen' and councillors with the exception of GGG councillor T. Anson Sancho.

GGG councillors Patricia Chase-Green and Gwen McGowan denounced the mayor's statement or document, which was circulated at the statutory meeting last Monday. They held the view that despite Mr. Orderson's second letter which contained the words... "I hereby re-affirm my deep contribution..." this was not good enough.

The two GGG councillors also questioned the role of Mayor Green in the entire affair. Councillor Chase-Green who chairs the council's Social Development and Welfare committee expressed her disappointment over the way in which her leader had handled the issue accusing him of defending the systems analyst and coming down strong on Ms Babb.

"We must look at our own souls... you have shown disrespect towards all the women employees of the council and even those on the council... you are not practising what you preach..." said an angry councillor Chase-Green.

She accused the 'chief citizen' of "trying to mislead the people ... Our eyes are now open... the Orderson second letter is not good enough... let us go to the Minister (of Local Government)..."

The other GGG woman councillor Gwen McGowan also pointed an accusing finger to the mayor asking "...why are you so concerned with this particular matter...?"

Councillor McGowan wanted to know why the 'chief citizen' did not show such deep concern into the 'uniform incident', the 'concrete blocks' and a certain 'concrete bridge'.

Before the two GGG women councillors launched their broadside against their leader, councillor Harold Kissoon with support from the leader of the People's Progressive Party/Civic group councillor Fitz Agard was of the view that Mr. Orderson's second letter which was in response to a memorandum from the Town Clerk should be accepted as an apology and it was time to close the issue.

But councillor Agard took the opportunity to mention in his presentation that there seemed to be a similarity in some of the language used by both Mayor Green and Mr. Orderson in their writings, which were before the council.

Replying to the contributions on the issue from the councillors, mayor Green said he was saddened and flabbergasted by the words expressed from members of his own party. "All I was trying to do was to get things right..." said the 'chief citizen.'

Mr. Orderson, he pointed out, went beyond an apology.. he was contrite...

A complaint against the media PPP/Civic councillor Victor Sobers, has complained to Mayor Green and his fellow councillors about what he termed "attacks on council employees and even councillors..." on some of the 'talk shows'.

At last Monday's statutory meeting councillor Sobers declared "we must stop these attacks on our workers... we must protect them from these unsubstantiated charges of bribery made on certain television stations..." "It is not fair...," the PPP/Civic councillor added.

The leader of the People's National Congress faction on the council Mr. Oscar Clarke, was confident that the media have in place their own regulatory systems to deal with such matters if and when they occur.

Mayor Green's first response to the complaint was... "we are in a state of anarchy... there are no rules..." adding that what is needed it "some journalistic decency" in the local media.

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