Work on mall for vendors between Light & Cummings sts will continue
- Collymore

By Samantha Alleyne
Stabroek News
November 10, 2000

Minister within the Ministry of Local Government, Clinton Collymore has ignored the call by Mayor of Georgetown Hamilton Green, who wants work on part of the Merriman's Mall to cease, and has ordered that it continue.

The minister made this clear to reporters during a visit to the mall to inspect the work being done. His visit was prompted by objections raised by the mayor to the section on which works had begun on the mall. Town Clerk, Beulah Williams, had instructed that the work be done on that section. Both the mayor and the town clerk were invited to join Collymore for yesterday's inspection, but neither put in an appearance. Attempts by Stabroek News to contact both parties proved to be futile.

The minister said yesterday that central government was assisting City Hall to the tune of $8 million and had already handed over an advance of $5 million for the work on the mall.

Collymore pointed out that the decision taken in the presence of President Bharrat Jagdeo was that work would be done between Cummings and Light streets and as such the town clerk was just following the guidelines. The minister said that the government was financing the project and was in agreement with where works had commenced.

The minister related that on Wednesday he received a letter from the mayor complaining about the work and asking him to intervene, as he was not satisfied with the way the work was being done. He said when he spoke to the mayor later on the telephone, the mayor requested the work on the mall should cease "at some tree which is in some conjunction with the ring bang hotel."

In the letter Green dispatched to Williams on Tuesday, a copy of which was sent to the minister--captioned 'Work being carried out on the Merriman's Mall between Cummings and Light streets'--the mayor said: "I bring to your attention a totally unacceptable situation and ask for a written explanation within 24 hours. I now ask that an immediate halt be put to the above works--stating how much money have so far been expended."

Giving reasons for the requests, the letter went on to state that on October 10, at the meeting with the President and the vendors a certain course of action was agreed upon. The letter said that consequent to the meeting a team from City Hall, including the mayor, visited the mall in an effort to satisfy the agreement reached at the meeting, which he said was to relocate the vendors to the section of mall now being used by the wholesalers.

According to the letter, since the team was not in possession of the number of vendors to be accommodated it was agreed that should the area be inadequate they would consider a small portion east of Cummings Street. The mayor said he recalled pointing to a tree and suggesting that they should avoid going beyond that point.

After reading the mayor's letter the minister said that the points raised by the mayor were not "factual."

He said that the mayor should have been on the spot to show him the tree he spoke about in the letter.

Collymore then read another letter he received from the deputy engineer, addressed to the town clerk, dealing with the upgrading of the mall between Orange Walk and Light Street to accommodate vending. The letter stated that it was proposed to use the area between Light and Cummings streets which had an area measuring 490 feet by 32 feet and the portion between Cummings Street and Orange Walk which had an area of 394 feet by 39 ft.

According to the letter, the work between Light and Cummings streets would involve grubbing and excavation, white sand compacted to 9 inches, six inches of loam and two inches of concrete finish. Between Cummings Street and Orange Walk the work would include levelling the existing concrete base which was sloping inward. Work would also be done on outskirts areas in this section. Both areas would require lights, water supply and portable sanitary containers. The estimated cost for all these works which include labour cost is a little over $8 million. The minister said that was what the President and the government decided upon.

In respond to a query from Stabroek News about an controversial decision the mayor had made to request the Ministry of Local Government to investigate officers at City Hall, the minister said: "the mayor has a lot of problems with his officers and he has been asking me to intervene... The minister can intervene on his own... but the minister is doubly supported in his intervention if he gets a resolution of the council." The minister said that he did not want to act "unilaterally". "The mayor wants me... and I think he wouldn't deny it... to take action, disciplinary action against certain officers." The minister said that should he receive resolution from the council he would conduct the investigation immediately.

However, he said that a writ had been served on the minister of local government, the attorney-general and the town clerk. He said because of the writ they were still discussing whether they should conduct the investigation.

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