Mayor Green cracking whip on GGG rebels

City Council Round-Up
by Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
August 30, 1999

Mayor Hamilton Green, who is the leader of the Good and Green Guyana (GGG) party has begun to crack the whip on those city councillors belonging to the GGG, who broke ranks last Monday when a motion for fresh mayoral and deputy mayoral elections was thrown out without even a vote being taken.

The motion which was signed by People's National Congress (PNC) councillor Desmond Moses and GGG councillor Anthony Boyce called on the Town Clerk to "take all the necessary measures to have a mayor and deputy and all statutory committees elected within the period specified by Section 12 of the Municipal and District Councils Act Chapter 28:01".

The motion also noted that "in this new era of democratic culture it is desirable for elected officials to have their mandate renewed..."

The Guyana Parliament several weeks ago approved the extension of life of the existing city council for another year.

The bone of contention is whether as a result of the extension, councillors who held office before the parliamentary decision, should continue performing their duties without a mandate from councillors. At present, the GGG has twelve of its members sitting around the horseshoe table, the PNC has ten councillors and the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/Civic), eight.

Within twenty-four hours after the motion was defeated, the `chief citizen' sent out letters to at least four of the members of his party summoning each of them separately to closed door talks on "a matter of great importance..."

One of the GGG members has expressed concern that Mayor Green has embarked on a plan to silence the voices that are calling for elections for a new mayor and deputy. Both offices are now held by GGG councillors... "Green has won the battle, but he will lose the war..." is the way in which another GGG rebel described what took place at last Monday's statutory meeting.

Whilst it is an accepted fact that politics makes strange bedfellows, I am still puzzled as to why the PNC councillor Desmond Moses took the lead role in the attempt to test Mayor Green's support among councillors even his own GGG.

It was obvious to me that apart from councillor Moses other PNC colleagues did not show the enthusiasm which was needed to initiate a debate and force a decision one way or the other. This left the unanswered question... how the seven PNC councillors led by councillors Oscar Clarke would have voted if the motion was allowed...?

On the other hand the PPP/Civic's chief spokesman, trade unionist councillor Fitz Agard, was quick to support the `chief citizen's opening statements on the motion advising that the issue at hand was one which had been dealt with by the Guyana Parliament, which is the highest decision making body in the land. The mayor also said he "will not take part in the debate..." This was not like mayor `Hammy' Green, who relishes such situations in and out of the council.

Another unanswered question is did he know before hand that councillor Agard would have called on the `chair' to rule that the motion was out of order ...? That was the end of the matter. Neither the mover of the motion from the PNC nor the seconder, from the GGG made any attempt to be heard... they sat in silence licking their wounds...

Councillors Patricia Chase-Green and Llewllyn John both belonging to the GGG were told by the mayor that they will not be heard, since a ruling had already been given.

Monitoring Stabroek market
Recognising that the state of the Stabroek market is of "public concern", Mayor Green has suggested that councillors from the three political parties, pay constant visits to see the repairs being carried out on the eastern portion of the facility.

The mayor at the statutory meeting showed concern over a lack of information from the City Engineer, Mr Cephas James, on the progress of the work being done at Stabroek. The chief engineer when called upon to respond told the statutory meeting that since the `chief citizen' had spoken on the matter... he had nothing more to say. The council is still in the dark over the total cost of the repairs and when the works would be completed.

Meanwhile, Mayor Green continues to give the impression while speaking to reporters that financial support has been promised by President Bharrat Jagdeo... after a promised visit to Stabroek. Again I warn the head of state... be very careful in doling out funds from the national treasury to city hall, unless a proper and workable plan is in place and competent people from outside the council are brought in to carry out the works.

The missing constabulary uniforms
Mayor Green is to summon a special meeting of the council to discuss a report by the council's internal auditor dealing with the purchases of ready-made uniforms from the United States for members of the city constabulary.

The internal auditor was called in to investigate a series of discrepancies which could amount to skulduggery by a person or persons in the employ of the council. The city council had paid over to Metro USA a company which had been based in Miami, USA, the sum of US$63,530 for the supply of uniforms for both the male and female members of the city police.

To date the Miami-based company has supplied items to the value of US$44,560 leaving a balance of US$18,970. The council's internal auditor noted that there was some deviation from the original arrangement between the council and the US-based company. She has said that the transaction which was done since January this year, is not yet recorded in the cash book.

The town clerk Mrs Beulah Williams earlier this month wrote the US ambassador in Guyana, Mr James Mack, seeking his assistance in making contact with Metro USA of Miami.

Communication between the company and the city council has been cut off and "attempts to contact the firm have been futile..." The company's telephone and fax numbers, the ambassador has been told, no longer exist. The women constables are still to get their skirts.

Rebuke for Mayor Green
Mayor Green has admitted "a serious dereliction" on his part for not mentioning the name of the PNC councillor Rameshwar Ramsaroop when he spoke about the contribution of some councillors during debates at statutory meetings. Said the `chief citizen', "councillor Ramsaroop I apologise for not mentioning your name..."

Councillor Ramsaroop who is usually allowed more latitude than other councillors to speak his piece, seized the opportunity to address his colleagues, minutes after the meeting had been called to order... last Monday.

"I am shocked by what you said on the GTV One on One programme". "You were very abusive to us... we want an apology". The councillor continued, "you have eaten the bread of ingratitude..." Councillor Ramsaroop concluded by telling the mayor "I will not tolerate it..."

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