No shake-up at City Hall likely soon

City Council Round-Up
Stabroek News
December 6, 1999

It's now conceivable, that only through a natural disaster (heaven forbid) affecting the city of Georgetown, resulting in emergency powers being invoked that major changes could take place among the thirty councillors who sit around the horseshoe table at city hall every fortnight.

President Bharrat Jagdeo has disclosed in the firmest of tones in a conversation recently with yours truly, that because of a position taken by the main opposition party in parliament, Local Government elections would have to take place after the general elections.

The President said the People's Progressive Party/Civic is in favour of holding Local Government elections early in the new year, but the People's National Congress is not in favour.

The head of state said in the one-hour conversation, that the time has come for new faces to appear on the various councils in the regions, towns and Georgetown.

The present council at city hall has been in office since 1992.

Mayor Hamilton Green's (at that time) newly-founded Good and Green Guyana (GGG) won twelve seats on the council, with the PNC gaining ten and the PPP/Civic being allocated eight seats.

During the period the GGG leader has been elected twice as mayor and the PNC's Ranwell Jordan sitting in the mayor's chair for one term. At present the GGG rules the roost and also occupies the office of deputy mayor, with some of its councillors holding chairmanship of key committees, including Finance. Both the PNC and the PPP/Civic over the years have shown reluctance to serve on these committees. The 'chief citizen' a man never at a loss for words may be moved to take the end of 1999 to give the citizens, an account of his stewardship ...using his favourite theme... "a moral and spiritual revival." The city council from top to bottom is in dire need of such transformation.

Millennium plans The council's millennium plans are still on the drawing board with priorities being identified says Town Clerk Beulah Williams.

One of the plans which seems unlikely to be undertaken is the restoration of the Stabroek Market clock which was earmarked to chime in the year 2000. Any attempts to bring this about I've been informed, would be like what happened to the walls of Jericho.

The administration is now looking at the installation of a countdown board at the junction of Regent Street and the Avenue of the Republic, where the city constabulary would be responsible for changing the date every day...

The restoration of the concert hall at the Town Hall is also on the well as the cleaning and clearing of the area surrounding the Stabroek Market for an open air church service to coincide with the ringing in of the new year.

In early January 2000 a special committee will be looking at changes to the city council's logo and its motto. Both of these date back to colonial times.

The Courts come around The Town Clerk's office has reported an improvement in relations between the council and the courts. It is the view from city hall that injunctions from the High Court are no longer being given willy nilly. The council is now being afforded "ample time" to respond to injunctions.

The administration has expressed its gratitude to the chief justice.

The ex parte injunctions have been thorns in the side of the city council with many inside and outside city hall blaming the courts for making it easy for people who defy the by-laws to seek legal redress while at the same time impeding the work of the municipality... as for example the pavement vendors and those who break the building by-laws.

Privatisation The council's move to privatise three markets, the Luckhoo swimming pool and the Holmes Street wharf, got off to a rocky start, with a group of stallholders in the Kitty Market expressing strong opposition. I have visited that market on several occasions over the past two years and I always wondered why there has been no strong representation from these stallholders for the council to carry out basic repairs to the structure. Something must be done about the Kitty Market and it is obvious city hall does not have the wherewithal to bring about major repairs and improvements to make it a viable entity.

And may I ask...the T.C.....why not include the cemetery on the privatisation list?

Unfinished business Dr Shury (M.O.H) is your department continuously monitoring those persons who sell food along the pavement on Regent Street and snacks around bars and schools in the city?

Chief Constable...why not seek help from the police to clear certain sections of the Regent Street pavement especially between Hinck and Camp that people could go about their Christmas shopping unmolested and without fear of being mugged. What about that vendor who dares to sell onions, garlic and potatoes close to the dirty gutter on Regent Street not too far from a busy supermarket?

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples