The mayor's call for probe of City Hall

By Miranda La Rose
Stabroek News
August 14, 2000

In response to a request from City Mayor Hamilton Green, Local Government Minister Harripersaud Nokta has issued an order for an enquiry to be held into the affairs, practices and decisions of the Goergetown municipality, including the City Council. However, the Minister's order that an enquiry be convened was met with the immediate filing of legal action by Good and Green Guyana councillor Llewellyn John to block it. We asked the man/woman-in-the-street whether they are satisfied with the services being provided by the municipality and whether they felt an investigation into the affairs of the city council was required as requested by Green. Their views follows.

Desmond Moffett - fabricator at Linden: `I don't live in Georgetown any more so I have to depend on what I see and hear. But what I see of the city, I definitely do not like. I see the pavement encumbered by pavement vendors, rubbish at the side of the streets, the drains blocked and filled with garbage. It is a far cry from when I was growing up in the city. If funds, whether they be subventions, grants, rates and taxes, are being put into keeping the city's environment clean and for rehabilitating the infrastructure of the city and they are not being used for what they were intended then by all means, government should investigate the administration of the City Council. Standing here at the corner of Regent and King Streets, I cannot understand what is happening. Look a vendor is putting up a stall on the street itself at the corner. Look another one is just next to him half naked. All of this is just a stone's throw from City Hall. And we are talking eco-tourism. Maybe eco-tourists will be flown straight into the interior by-passing the city.'

Sharmilla Mootoo - homemaker: `It is a bit confusing to me having the Mayor calling for an investigation into the administration of the Georgetown administration at City Hall. He is at the helm of the City Council. I think that the Mayor and City Council should have looked at this issue then called on government. I agree with the Mayor that all is not well with the services being provided by the City Council especially when citizens meet their commitment and expect better services. The city streets are not safe to walk anymore because we do not have city constables on the streets any longer. The Mayor is himself accountable for what is taking place. Yes, I agree that an investigation is needed.'

Terrence Welch - photographer: `At one time, or, rather more than one time Mayor Green was complaining that the government was not releasing funds to help in getting the city back to its former glory. Now he is calling for an investigation - investigation of what? Funds he got and did not say when the city got it or for funds he did not get. I don't understand. Is he contradicting himself? On the other hand, I am definitely not satisfied with the services we get from the Mayor and City Council. For example, the rain only has to drizzle and the city floods.'

Joe James - London-based Guyanese: `I think that if a housewife had this town, it would have been better. Similarly, if a housewife had this country's economy we would not be talking about investigating the administration of the city. Coming and going I am not happy with what I see of the city and the administration of the city and the services of key utilities. For instance I have a property in South Georgetown and I have to look after the drains myself because the City Council does not. Why do we pay rates and taxes. When the houses in South came under the Guyana Housing Development Corporation we had water running in the house, now we do not have that and the problems of sewage were dealt with quickly. It is not easy having to send money back home to do this and do that every so often. It is expensive.'

Mohamed Usman - businessman: `I agree with Mayor Green that the administration of the council needs to be investigated. People are paying up their taxes and not enough is being done to satisfy the people. However, in recent years I think there has been an improvement in some of the services but there is a lot more to be done. Right now the vendors on the pavements are an eye sore. I cannot see why the city cannot build three new markets and place the vendors there and after that anyone found breaking the law be dealt with according to the law. The city, too, has no control over the mini-buses and the touting that takes place. Either the city police or the Guyana Police Force should have some control over their activities in the city. Also visitors are appalled when they come here.'

Arthur Corlette - Corriverton councillor: `I am not satisfied with the standard of living and services I see being provided in the city in a number of areas for which the administration of the Georgetown municipality is responsible for. By the amount of garbage piles and litter one sees on the street it is evident that citizens need to be educated about environmental pollution and its effect on a person's health and generally about cleanliness of the environment. I agree with Mayor Green's request for government to investigate the administration of the council. I am a councillor of Corriverton and we have similar problems. Money is being spent and we are not seeing any positive results from it. The city is a disgrace as the capital of the country.'

Vishnu Narine - self-employed: `I agree with the Mayor that an investigation should be conducted into the affairs of the city. I mean you just have to open your eyes in the morning where you live or go to work downtown and look to the drains or the parapets and you will see the grass and the parapets. If you do not look after the drains yourself you live in filth. It is disgusting when you walk about and you know that you pay rates and taxes to the city council and income tax to find that you are paying for services in vain. It is just that you are not getting value for money. We need a clean city. The drains in town smell. I remember as a little boy I played cricket in the gutter in Charlotte Street by Strand Cinema.'

Simeon Moore - craftsman/self-employed: `I am not satisfied with the services we get from City Hall. Property owners who pay rates and taxes are paying double and triple times because they have to also maintain council property just to ensure that they are secured health-wise and from bandits as well. I agree that there should be an investigation into the administration of the city council because we cannot have an effective city if it does not have an effective government supporting it. In essence, City Hall cannot function properly without government's full support.'

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