City to continue market repairs for two months

Stabroek News
September 15, 1999

Emergency rehabilitation work on the Stabroek Market will continue for another two months at the expense of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).

This was agreed at the council's statutory meeting on Monday, after a squabble over whether council should spend its money or wait for Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) financing.

Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green had recently announced that the M&CC was closing the market because it was in a deplorable state and a threat to life and limb. It was later decided that the repairs would be done in phases.

City Engineer Cephas James, asked for a report on the market, said rehabilitation work which would include repairs to the dome and the bell tower would cost about $2 million a month. According to him, the work would last about nine months costing the council some $18 million.

Former mayor and PNC councillor Ranwell Jordan on Monday recommended that "not a cent more" be spent by the M&CC on the market. According to Jordan, his recommendation was based on remarks made by Local Government Minister, Clinton Collymore, on the "air waves," on Monday.

Jordan quoted Collymore as saying that money from the IDB Urban Rehabilitation Programme would be allocated to repair the Stabroek Market, but that the M&CC, "would not get a cent." According to the former mayor, Collymore said the council should not get any money because of the way it did business and the state of its books.

Green suggested that in the light of Collymore's remarks, the city engineer should not do more work than was necessary on the market.

Deputy Mayor Robert Williams said funds from the IDB should be released immediately, or there should be an agreement to refund the money spent by the M&CC on market. It was agreed that government should recognise the seriousness of the Stabroek Market situation and start work immediately.

However, PNC councillor, Oscar Clarke said it was recognised that the condition of the market was a safety hazard and emergency works which were recommended had started. He said he saw nothing wrong with the engagement of the IDB and the council, but suggested that the discussions on the releasing of the funds be intensified. He also recommended that work on the market should not stop. PPP/Civic councillor Carl Rogers echoed Clarke's sentiments.

PNC councillor Desmond Moses contended that council should write to the government and demand the outstanding sum of approximately $300 million in rates and taxes to pay for some of council's work.

PPP/Civic councillor Fitzgerald Agard said his group agreed that council should write and demand the money owed by the government.

Williams explained that according to a document it was agreed that a four-man committee be set up to examine the rates and taxes owed by government to remove suspicion, so that payment could be expedited. He said the treasury department was asked to do a breakdown of the expenses in terms of the buildings and the sums owing for each.

Treasurer Roderick Edinborough, asked to give a report on the issue, said a proper verification process was currently being conducted to ensure that the buildings were owned by the government.

Williams's suggestion that work on the market continue for two months, while discussions with the IDB were underway, was not met with any disapproval.

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