Improved government, council relations augur well for city --Green

By Desiree Jodah
Stabroek News
January 25, 1998

Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green has expressed optimism that the City Council would be able to get more done given the "improved climate" between the government and the City Council. Green said he was hoping to be able to work with his colleagues in the council from both the People's Progressive Party (PPP)/Civic and the People's National Congress (PNC).

In a new initiative by the council, members of non-governmental organisations were invited to be involved in the council's bid to restore the city and to assist with the preparation of its budget. In an interview with Stabroek News, Green said that President Janet Jagan had given a commitment to improving the physical and socio-environment of the community.

He declared that the President and the government were concerned with the improvement of the city and it was his desire that all would work together to achieve this goal. He said that as a result of a unanimous motion passed at a meeting of the councillors, a meeting was held between the government and the city council at which agreement was reached on a programme to launch an assault on restoring the well-being of the city.

This includes personal, physical, psychological, moral and spiritual development. The mayor expressed the hope that councillors could get beyond partisan politics which, according to him, would serve only to divide and destroy. According to him, in the past, meetings at City Hall were extremely stressful and difficult as a result of councillors introducing "extraneous and non municipal considerations."

"This time around I hope councillors come to the table with new moves. The process has already started. We expect every citizen including those outside the city be prepared to be part of dialogue initiating what and how to repair and rehabilitate the city," said Green. Admitting that restoring the city was an enormous task, Green called for legislation to improve the capacity of the council to deal with recalcitrant taxpayers.

"We ourselves have to strengthen our administrative and financial affairs where there could be proper accountability. We also need to create a framework for efficient management of council," said Green. He stressed the onference during his one-day visit here on Thursday at the CARICOM Secretariat that either legislation or "some other appropriate measure to facilitate the conduct of the audit" would need to be addressed initially.

Hoyte told a press conference last week that it was not necessary for the party to be in the National Assembly as the PNC could be consulted like any other social partner and once there was agreement on the provisions of the legislation, the PPP could go ahead and enact it. Observers feel that besides the legislation, an Order of the Court might be needed to provide the audit team access to the ballot boxes.

Head of the Electoral Assistance Bureau observer mission to the elections, Hugh Cholmondeley, who is undertaking the consultations about the audit team with the political parties and was at the press conference with Dr Mitchell on Thursday, said that the lawyers for both parties were involved in the process to ensure that the results of the audit was binding in every way on the PPP/Civic and the PNC, the parties to the Accord.

Cholmondeley also assisted the three-man CARICOM mission, headed by Sir Henry Forde SC, in brokering the Herdmanston Accord, of which the audit is one of seven measures to be used in the attempt to return Guyana to a state of normality.