Councillors must now prove their worth
City Council Round-up By Cecil Griffith
July 17, 2000
Now that Georgetown city councillors have voted themselves an extra $5,000 in their monthly allowances instead of $15,000 which many of them were demanding it's incumbent on Mayor Hamilton Green and his deputy, councillor Robert Williams to remove the impression held by most citizens, rightly or wrongly, that the city 'fathers' and 'mothers' are not only needy but greedy.
Let me be the first to admit that what I am suggesting is a very difficult task indeed, but surely we the taxpayers are entitled to expect a better performance by city councillors from the three political parties who sit around the horseshoe table at City Hall twice a month. Maybe Mayor Green could start by opening a private diary in which he would record in his own inimitable style, the contributions by councillors not only inside but outside the council. At the last statutory meeting with Mayor Green in the chair, several councillors spoke out against the non-performance of some of their colleagues and there are many, calling on them to show more interest in the affairs of the council.
Would you believe it, that there are councillors from all three political parties, Good and Green Guyana (GGG); People's National Congress, (PNC); and the People's Progressive Party/Civic, (PPP/C); who over the past year have never spoken more than a dozen words. Even when they are needed to assent or show dissent to a resolution or the findings of a report from the various committees, the 'chief citizen' is forced to identify them as movers and seconders of the agenda item.
One GGG councillor who will remain nameless could only find his voice to address the 'Chair' when Mayor Green is absent.
The 33.3% increase for councillors will cost taxpayers $7.5M per year.
Who is authorised?
GGG councillor Mrs Patricia Chase-Green, wanted to know from Mayor Green, what are the procedures for subordinate staff speaking to the media. At last Monday's statutory meeting she drew the attention of her colleagues to the appearance of a member of the City Constabulary on one of the television outlets expressing his views on the workings of the constabulary.
"Anybody and everybody is going to the media to complain about City Hall", she told the meeting. "There must be guidelines."
The 'chief citizen' in response said "only heads of department should express views about the administration's work and this has been made very clear to all concerned."
Water St vendors solution at hand
Recent developments in the High Court indicate that a solution is at hand for resolving the resiting of vendors in the Water Street area.
The council and the vendors are engaged in a running legal battle over the takeover of the pavements down town.
It all started when the City Council sought to implement a resolution calling on the Water Street pavement vendors, most of whom encroach on the streets with stalls displaying their wares, to dismantle the ugly structures before the six o'clock hour.
Running true to form, the 'aggrieved' sellers sought an injunction in the courts, aimed at restraining the municipality from acting against them.
The judge before whom the matter was taken gave the first round to the vendors, but when city hall further argued the matter another judge gave the second round to the council and a legal wrangle ensued.
I've been informed that Chief Justice Desiree Bernard has intervened in the matter and there is hope for these vendors to be accommodated at the site of the Guyana Stores Limited bond on Water and Regent Streets.
Talks are in train between representatives of GSL, the vendors and their lawyer on accommodating the pavement and street sellers in the Water Street bond. The parties involved in the injunction cases are to meet with the Chief Justice on August 16.
Within the next two weeks, the Project Implementation Unit will be in place for undertaking a comprehensive plan dealing with the disposal of garbage in Georgetown. The Medical Officer of Health Dr Vibart Shury has been designated Project Director.
Under the plan being underwritten by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Guyana government the life of the Mandela landfill site is to be extended paving the way for a long term and comprehensive arrangement for the disposal of garbage.
The IDB has contributed US$900,000 with counterpart funding of US$100,000 from the Guyana government.
Queries for the Town Clerk
What has happened to those grandiose plans by the council for the privatisation of the Kitty and Albouystown markets, Holmes stelling, and the Luckhoo swimming pool?
The work undertaken by the City Engineer's Department at the corner of Bourda and Regent streets where the constabulary is housed seems to have come to a standstill. It's time workers attached to this department earn their keep. If the delay in the works is the responsibility of the council or the city engineer let this column know. The vendors have now encroached on the street on the western side of the market.
Why are some vendors on the pavement between Bourda Street and the Post Office on Regent Street on the northern side of the old Bourda Cemetery, being allowed to leave those ugly looking blue tarpaulins hanging over the pavement overnight with the constabulary nearby.
Anyone using this part of the pavement night or day is gambling with their life.
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