City planning millennium events

City Council Round-Up
with cecil grifftih
Stabroek News
July 19, 1999

The Georgetown City Council is planning "to do its own thing", to usher in the new millennium. The council's Social Development Committee, headed by Good and Green Guyana councillor Patricia Chase-Green has suggested the setting up of a Countdown Board under the responsibility of the City Constabulary, on which the date would be changed every day starting from a given date.

A slogan is to be crafted emphasising the various important aspects of the council such as the environment, health and safety or child care. A marble stone wall is to be unveiled listing Mayors and Town Clerks who served the council during the century, and attempts are to be made to get the Stabroek market clock chiming at midnight on 99-12-31, to herald in the year 2000. The committee is awaiting submissions for the repair of the Stabroek market clock from John Sandy who was trained by a technician from the Smithsonian Institute some years ago.

Councillor Chase-Green's committee has recommended that the area surrounding Stabroek market be cleared and a church service be held along with fireworks to coincide with the dawn of the millennium.

At the last statutory meeting of the council when the committee's report was dealt with, deputy mayor Robert Williams had cautioned councillors to be very careful in their handling of the Stabroek market clock, because the structure around the clock is in a precarious condition and could be a threat to life and limb.

The Seawall Bandstand

At long last the council has decided to pay some attention, if even in words, to the seawall bandstand and the watch-house immediately opposite the bandstand. It is proposed that both structures be repaired and painted before the end of the year. GGG councillor and attorney-at-law C. Llewellyn John, is to donate the required paint for the exercise.

The watch house which was at one time known as the bath hut, is in a most disgraceful condition and is now occupied by vagrants and people of unsound mind. The bandstand is also being used as a shelter by beggars and vagrants.

Councillor John should be congratulated for his kind offer of paint and I look forward to other councillors making a similar contribution monetary or otherwise, using some of the $15,000 per month stipend which each of them, with the exception of the mayor and deputy receives at least two weeks before municipal employees get their pay packets. It's time the city "fathers and mothers" do something for the council and the city. Mayor Hamilton Green and his deputy, receive a higher monetary reward in addition to perks.

Rocky's challenge

Councillor 'Rocky' Mann of the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/Civic) has entered the verbal fray involving the government and the city council over outstanding money for taxes owed to the municipality. The government has challenged the figure of $600M which is being claimed by city hall, and is to investigate the accuracy of the claim.

At Monday's statutory meeting councillor Mann said he had nine questions to ask the administration in connection with the quantum of the money owed.

He wanted to know how much was owed by the government prior to 1997, in rates and taxes, how many times rates and taxes were raised in the city during the period 1993 to the present time, and when was the last time the council's accounts were audited among others. The 'chief citizen' asked the PPP/Civic councillor to put his questions in writing, "Mr Mayor..." was the reply "I have written several letters to you on a number of issues Sir, without receiving a reply...."

The Constabulary under the gun

Less the 48 hours after Mayor Green was forced to express the most unfavourable comments about the city constabulary at Monday's statutory meeting, members of the city police were put to the test, and found wanting...woefully so.

I'm referring to the shooting up of the headquarters of the constabulary last Wednesday, by gun-toting bandits, who escaped with over $13 million from a Regent street cambio, situated opposite the city hall complex.

From reports the constables, who were on hand during the shooting and robbery, were unprepared to confront the bandits later discovering that whatever arms were in their possession, once they were found, would have posed a greater danger to them if used, than the live bullets from across the road.

At the statutory meeting the 'chief citizen' showed some disgust and anger when he posed a question to the chief constable about the readiness of the city police to cope with emergencies, including self defence.

When the question about training for senior staff came up, the chief constable was unable to state how many of her officers had undergone training, but told the mayor that although she had not taken part in the current training exercise, "I can defend myself, Mr Mayor..." "This isn't good enough" was the reply from Mayor Green.

The constabulary is also the subject of an inquiry into the removal of 14 boxes of chicken which were condemned for human consumption by the health authorities.

According to reports, four boxes were first removed from the vehicle as it was on its way to the dump site on Mandela Avenue and immediately on arrival at the site the further 10 boxes were removed before spraying of the chicken with disinfectant was begun.

I've been informed that some of the boxes of chicken were returned subsequently by a food vendor in the Bourda market. At least half a dozen boxes are still to be recovered. The chicken was removed from one of the city's wharves after the strike by public servants recently. Two constables and one corporal have already been questioned.

Questions for Town Clerk

1. What about the two investigations mounted by the central government into the role of the chief constable in the late submission of monies paid in as revenue from pound fees and court fines as well as the 'heifer' story involving the mayor and you?

2. Is the constabulary geared and equipped with the necessary human resources to cope with the exercise of the extended power and authority given them in the new amendments to some of the by-laws, including noise nuisance, wayside barbershops as well as unauthorised construction in the city?

3. The unsightly vendors structure in Regent and a part of Camp streets are still in evidence despite the on and off campaign by the constabulary to make Georgetown a safe and healthy city. Why are the 'cap' vendors still occupying the side of the roadway on the immediate west of the Banks DIH business complex on Commerce street?

4. Could you ask Dr. Shury, the MOH why every Saturday shoppers and others using the southern pavement between Kwality Centre supermarket and C.&.F. Meat Centre and supermarket on Regent street are forced to walk on the parapet and risk falling into the gutter, because persons have set up food stalls on the pavement attracting customers who are oblivious to the problems which users of the pavement have to endure? Are constant checks being carried out on the food stalls which occupy spaces on the pavement...?

And finally....what is the nexus between the city council and the upcoming visit to Guyana by American-born preacher and 'healer' Benny Hinn. I've noticed the council's Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. King's appearance on television joyously promoting the visit next month. It may be good for Mayor Green to take all the city 'fathers and mothers' to one of the sessions at the National Park with the PRO using his contacts to get them 'touched'.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples