Cracks appearing in Green's group
- some councillors seeking new mayor, deputy

City Council Round-Up
by Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
August 23, 1999

Cracks are beginning to appear in Mayor Hamilton Green's twelve- member group of councillors who sit around the horseshoe table at City Hall.

This afternoon the 'chief citizen' will be faced with a motion calling for the election of a new mayor and deputy. At present both offices are held by councillors belonging to the Good and Green Guyana (GGG).

The government recently extended the life of the council, and at least three members of the mayor's party have shown an inclination to break party ranks and support someone other than their leader. The signatories to the motion I have been informed are GGG councillor Anthony Boyce and People's National Congress (PNC) councillor Desmond Moses.

Recently, more and more GGG members have been speaking out at statutory meetings with the mayor in the 'chair'. Among them are councillors Harold Kissoon, Patricia Chase-Green and Boyce. What seems to have brought about this apparent rift in the GGG is a suggestion by the mayor at a recent party caucus, that consideration be given by the government to a reconfiguration of the city council, with a smaller council and headed by someone with experience and well-versed in management.

There is also some disquiet in the GGG over the mayor's style of leadership and how he presided at statutory meetings.

Mayor Green is on record as saying publicly that the three-party system now operating in the council "has not worked".

He told a news conference two weeks ago that for the council to be responsive to the needs of the people there must be consensus among councillors.

Over the past month, Mayor Green has held closed door meetings with the leaders of both the PNC and the PPP/Civic on the council, to work out a system which could lead to less politicking at the forthcoming meetings at City Hall.

The 'chief citizen' continued to be severely critical of some of the council's senior officers in carrying out tasks assigned to them.

The Stabroek Market fiasco The on-again off-again complete closure of the Stabroek market on Water street, has again brought to the fore the council's inability to get its message across to citizens and especially to the hundreds of persons who depend on its services and facilities to earn a living.

The case in point was the conflicting and sometimes confusing statements from City Hall and the mayor that the Stabroek market is to be closed down for much needed repairs. This was obviously a big story and the media ran with it.

While it was known that the Stabroek market is an accident waiting to happen, the sudden announcement caught many by surprise, especially the scores of stallholders who use the facility.

Within 24 hours after representation by the Stabroek market stallholders committee, Mayor Green rescinded the complete closure decision and announced that only a section would now be closed with repair work starting over last weekend.

The 'chief citizen' had argued that it would be wiser to close the market completely at this time, rather than waiting for it to collapse with consequences too horrible to contemplate. Not only is the structure a death trap, but the internal electrical wiring is only holding up through constant piecemeal repairs sometimes by persons whose only interest is to get electricity to their individual stalls.

It's puzzling to understand why City Hall did not mount a campaign earlier sensitising stallholders and the public about the need to close the market while at the same time looking around for alternative accommodation for those to be displaced. As the mayor should know this is Standard Operating Procedure.

Mayor Green appearing on the GTV "One on One" interview programme last night, admitted that the council may have to scrounge about for funds to carry out the repair work on the canopy on the eastern side of the market. He has begun making approaches to the government and the business community for help.

On the programme the 'chief citizen' disclosed that President Bharrat Jagdeo had promised to help in the restoration of the Stabroek market. Not appearing to be presumptuous, I would advise the head of state to be very careful in doling out funds from the treasury to the city council, without first ensuring that a proper plan for a reconstructed Stabroek market has been drawn up and that the work be undertaken by private contractors with assistance from personnel from the city engineer's department.

A joyful noise Mayor Green has told a group of leaders mainly from the non-traditional churches in Guyana that "if a joyful noise disturbs our neighbours, it is wrong and cannot be condoned". Mayor Green had summoned the meeting held at City Hall, to seek their co-operation in reducing the decibels coming from their churches, temples and mosques.

Though the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches were not represented, the non-traditional churches had a strong presence. Among them the Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventists, House of Israel, New Life Ministries, the Islamic Research and Propagation Centre, the Baha'i Faith, Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana and the Rastafari Movement of Guyana.

One of the church spokesmen wanted to know how the city council is dealing with the noise nuisance and what is being done to enforce the laws which were recently amended dealing with this nuisance. Mayor Green's reply was that he is waiting on the return to the country of Chancellor Cecil Kennard. He intends to get the chancellor's co-operation in dealing expeditiously with noise nuisance cases coming before magistrates.

The spokesman for the House of Israel quoted from the bible to support his argument that when "you pray, you do so with a loud noise..."

Mayor Green said he would be monitoring the situation. Meanwhile two structures from which joyful noises can be expected are going up in Queenstown, which was at one time a quiet residential ward of the city.

Welcome Mr President As a resident of Queenstown I must take this opportunity to welcome President Bharrat Jagdeo to this part of the city and hope that the city council's engineering department takes a look at Peter Rose street from Lamaha Street going south. The street is in a deplorable state especially the section outside Herdmanston House where the President resides.

The Guyana Electricity Corporation should also carry out an inspection of the street lights in this area.

A © page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples