City Hall beverage controversy resolved

City Council Round Up
With Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
July 16, 2001

The alcoholic beverage incident at City Hall which occurred on March 11 this year, resulting in a heated debate among city 'fathers' and 'mothers' recently and the lampooning of Mayor Hamilton Green in the press has been resolved.

Last Thursday, the council's Legal Affairs Committee, whose chairman is attorney-at-law C.M.L. John, dismissed the case against a charwoman, who it was alleged had pilfered alcoholic beverages from the Concert Hall.

After a heated discussion at the last statutory meeting the matter was referred to the Legal Affairs Committee for a final resolution.

An insider told this column that all the players in the alleged theft of the beverages, including an employee from Banks DIH Ltd appeared before the committee to be questioned. It was found that the allegations which were made by a senior officer employed at City Hall were unfounded, despite a recommendation by the Chief Constable that the charwoman "be placed before the courts on the charge of simple larceny, contrary to Section 164 of the Criminal Law Offences Act..."

After the investigation by the chief constable the Town Clerk Beulah Williams had transferred the charwoman to another department away from City Hall, with no loss in pay or status.

Meanwhile, the Town Clerk has sent letters to the Mayor, as well as to councillors Oscar Clarke, leader of the PNC/R faction and Fitzgerald Agard, leader of the PPP/C faction drawing their attention to an alleged statement by the charwoman, before she was transferred. According to the Town Clerk, since the charwoman among her other duties, had to prepare refreshments for councillors and senior staff attending statutory meetings, the utterance could pose a threat to the health of the recipients of her services.

"I felt and still feel that my action was reasonable, correct and justifiable." She noted in the letter which sought to give her side of the story while drawing attention to the "consequential implications for the proper functioning of the municipality..."

Diplomatic privilege

A request from the head of the European Union's office in Guyana for special parking facilities on Sendall Place and Croal Street brought forth an appeal from the 'chief citizen' to city 'fathers' and 'mothers' not to be hostile to the request. Mayor Green said he would be hard put to explain and defend any refusal by the council, while drawing the attention of councillors attending last Monday's statutory meeting, to the benefits which Guyana and the council derive from the European Union. But councillors wanted to have their way and to make their comments on the request. The mayor yielded but kept a tight rein on the exchanges across the horseshoe table.

The chairman of the City Works Committee, councillor John, informed the meeting that his committee visited the site where a new building has been erected owned by attorney-at-law Rex McKay.

Councillor John said his committee is not in favour of making Sendall Place a one-way street nor is the committee in favour of allowing the construction of an exclusive car park on that street. He drew councillors' attention to the situation outside the Brickdam police station, where there is usually a build up of traffic during the day, pointing to the takeover of council's property by the police on the southern side of the Brickdam police station.

When Mayor Green attempted to interrupt, an angry councillor John refused to give way telling the 'chief citizen' "you do not want to listen.. We took a number of issues into consideration while considering the request..."

The chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee suggested with support from deputy Mayor Robert Williams that an offer be made to the European Union for constructing an extension of the revetment and parking facilities existing on Croal Street from Sendall Place going further west on Croal Street.

Stabroek Market

The Town Clerk has been instructed by Mayor Green, to send a letter to the Local Government Minister, copied to the Project Execution Unit, complaining about the works being carried out at the Stabroek market. The 'chief citizen' with support from his deputy wants the electrical works now being carried out by the contractors to be put on hold to make way for the renovation of the roof of the market. Some councillors have expressed dissatisfaction with the progress of the rehabilitation works now being carried out by a local contractor. One question being asked is will the clock tower be repaired...An engineer close to the council has likened the existing structure to toast bread.

Et cetera

***Promises must be kept especially if they are made by gentlemen...and so I draw the attention of President Bharrat Jagdeo, Mayor Green and the new minister responsible for tourism, to look at several requests from the management of the Country Club on Aubrey Barker road, South Ruimveldt:

1. Permission to use the council's reserve on the northern side of the hotel so as to improve the aesthetics of the area thus getting rid of the grazing animals there;

2. The removal of the unused bus shed directly opposite the main entrance of the Guyanese-owned business;

3. The construction of sleeping policemen at the corner of High Palm Road and Aubrey Barker Road...there is a primary school in that area.

4. The installation of street lights along Aubrey Barker Road. I'll be monitoring the responses from the committed parties.

***Attention Doctor Shury..M.O.H...the Brazilians are still indulging in open air barbeque service on Light street and I have noticed that take away facilities are now being offered by these foreigners....Let's get some action..please.