Businessmen invited to initiate city beautification

Stabroek News
July 27, 2001

Mayor Hamilton Green yesterday called on businesses to identify areas where they could assist to beautify Georgetown, and pledged to give them permission immediately.

The city mayor was at the time speaking to a few businesspersons at a meeting at City Hall to address the issue of drainage.

Green told them that they could become involved in the fight against littering in the city and also assist in keeping the drains and canals clean. He said that while the council got the bad name, every piece of litter hurts the system.

Noting that the money being spent this year for the drainage problem was not enough for a solution, Green said that with the help of everyone, Georgetown could again become beautiful.

According to Green, the Georgetown municipality was faced with some strange processes when it came to decision-making, which hindered the development of the city.

Several meetings on the drainage issue have been held over the past few weeks by the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to involve citizens in this year's $179 million drainage programme.

The mayor told the businesspersons that their attendance at the meeting showed their concern for the city's progress.

Describing the city's state as grave, the mayor said: "We are lucky that we have not been faced with a massive drainage problem."

He noted that the council usually cleaned canals but shortly afterwards their condition would return to square one.

If this continued "we would find ourselves on a treadmill, expending a lot of energy and not getting anywhere."

Both the businesspersons and the mayor were extremely disappointed that none of the councillors, as major stakeholders in the development of the city, were present at yesterday's meeting.

One businessman questioned whether there was the political will to move the city forward and also asked whether the government was supporting the drive. "It seems to be all talk and if the support is not there then we would be wasting our time," the man said.

Expressing little faith in the councillors, he suggested that they stay at home and allow the businesspeople and other stakeholders to sit around the horseshoe table to address the city's problem.

In answer to the businessman's queries, Green said that he recently had a meeting with President Bharrat Jagdeo and he got the impression that the President was supportive of the drive. However, he opined, he did not think there was the same support from the President's colleagues.

The mayor stressed that businesspeople needed to place less emphasis on whom they would offend and "say it as it is."

The municipality is faced with difficulties from all around, according to the mayor, and for years has struggled to get the fines for littering increased, but the magistrate responsible for the municipality told a meeting that he was not going to fine "poor people."

However, the mayor was not daunted as he disclosed that he was in discussion with President Jagdeo and Chancellor Desiree Bernard to have a court designated specifically to deal with municipality cases. He said at the moment cases were processed over protracted periods, declaring that "just delayed is justice denied."

Another businessman said he was concerned with the bureaucracy involved in bringing about change and wondered if members of parliament are aware of the major role they play in development. "I want to see progress and that is why at the end of the day if I put my money and energy, I want to see something done."

Yet another businessman drew attention to the problem of mentally disturbed persons in the city, who also contributed to littering.

Green said he was aware of the problem and on that issue, a meeting with the Minister of Health and his team would be convened today.

At the end of the meeting it was decided that a meeting would be arranged with President Jagdeo and the businesspeople who intend to seek his support in dealing with the present state of the city.

Meanwhile, an anti-littering campaign is to be launched in schools to sensitise children to the problem.