Thirty-three to be made redundant
- Green accused of muzzling councillor

City Council Round-Up
By Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
November 15, 1999

The Georgetown city council has identified some 33 persons who are to be made redundant by the end of the year.

The questions of redundancy and retrenchment were raised at the last statutory meeting of the council with Mayor Hamilton Green presiding.

On the redundancy list are employees whose ages range from 57 to 73 years of age. Mayor Green has suggested a special meeting of councillors for them to "get a better grasp" of what is to take place. The retrenchment issue has been around since 1994.

The 'chief citizen' pointed out that an employee's age ought not to be the sole criterion when retrenchment is being considered. He feels that there could be some employees within the municipality who having reached retirement age, possess important skills which cannot be easily replaced.

The Town Clerk has been asked to prepare a dossier on every member of the staff as the council prepares for the new century.

The work performance of several persons on the council's payroll has been called into question by councillors from all three of the political parties represented on the council.

Among the most vocal have been People's Progressive Party/Civic, councillor Rocky Mann and the leader of the People's National Congress group, councillor Oscar Clarke who recently called for a list of all the municipal employees with details about the type of work performed, Even Mayor Green has been known to complain in very strong tones about the low standard of performance among council workers at city hall and other areas under the responsibility of Town Clerk Beulah Williams.

The Rose letter A letter from chairman of the National Trust, Dr. James Rose who chaired meetings of the Interim Management Committee before the present council took office, has roused the anger of some councillors among them deputy mayor Robert Williams.

The Rose letter has informed the council that the National Trust of Guyana "is in the process of preparing the documentation for the non-aligned monument to be officially listed as a national monument of Guyana."

The council has been told that the Trust is taking steps to get cabinet's decision, "to rectify this anomaly." Dr Rose also advised the council "that alterations to the monument will only be permitted if they continue to preserve the essential character of the site."

The letter warned that statutory powers for the preservation of the monument "will be invoked should you fail to take reasonable steps to preserve and conserve the site" or if the council contemplates altering the site to the extent that its essential character is likely to be destroyed.

Recently one of the four busts at the non aligned monument in Company Path gardens, was interfered with by an unknown person or persons. Good and Green Guyana councillor and a former Home Affairs minister under the late Forbes Burnham, Llewellyn John, said the letter raised serious questions about the role of the National Trust vis-a-vis the city council.

The Mayor described the Rose letter as an exercise in semantics, while the deputy mayor felt that the intent of the letter should be investigated by the council in order to find out what buildings and structures are under the National Trust.

People's Progressive Party/Civic councillor Fitzgerald Agard, the leader of his group on the council held the view that the letter was discourteous to the council and the council should record its displeasure.

Dictator or democrat? Good and Green Guyana councillor Anthony Boyce has once again been prevented from speaking during meetings of the council. He has a running battle with his leader, mayor Green, over his continued membership of the GGG.

At the last statutory meeting under the item...Announcements...the Town Clerk informed councillors that Mr Boyce wanted to make a statement. But as far as the 'chief citizen' was concerned the councillor would be seen and not heard, reminding the Town Clerk that in keeping with the Standing Orders, which he intends to enforce, the nature of the statement must be sent in advance to the Chief Administrative Officer of the city council.

The mayor's ruling sparked an angry exchange between himself and two councillors belonging to the PPP/Civic.

Both councillors Victor Sobers and Rudolph Harris accused mayor Green of muzzling the councillor who has not spoken at a statutory meeting for the past two months although he is always present around the horseshoe table.

In his usual bulldozing style councillor Harris read from the Standing Orders to show that the 'chief citizen' was out of order, but he was referred to another section of the Orders which according to mayor Green gives him the right to prevent not only councillor Boyce but any other councillor from speaking.

"You are a dictator.." shouted councillor Harris before he sauntered out of the chamber to get a 'smoke'.

Former PNC mayor Ranwell Jordan could not understand why the GGG councillor was not allowed to speak under the item. Mayor Green won the day and councillor Boyce if he desires to speak at future meetings, will have to send a copy of his speech to the Town Clerk who will then submit it to the mayor.

Unfinished business What has happened to those grandiose plans by the council to welcome the 21st century?

I'm talking about the erection of a structure in the city hall compound depicting the history of the council and the contributions of its past mayors.

It was also announced some three months ago that the council intended to get the Stabroek market clock working again so it could ring-in the new century, only to discover that this was a pipe dream. Any ringing of the clock would bring the entire structure tumbling down.

And what about the Guyana Stores bond on Water Street which the council had earmarked for accommodating the vendors who seem to be multiplying daily in and around the main shopping area, with Fogarty's and the stores along Water Street under siege?

Investigations, I've been told are still continuing into the city police's uniform fiasco.

No one could account for the nearly US$20,000 which is still outstanding after the Miami-based supplier disappeared without fulfilling its contract to provide shirts, pants and skirts for members of the constabulary. An extra $500,000 had to be found by the council to outfit some constables with locally-tailored uniforms for yesterday's Remembrance Day ceremony at the cenotaph.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples