Some senior officers at City Hall have been carrying out orders but not others
Stabroek News
January 16, 2002

Dear Editor,

From the letter captioned "Protocol must be observed in city council's operations" (l2.l.2002) it appears that the M&CC's PRO speaking on behalf of the Town Clerk and Senior officers, is clearly set on a path to confuse some, deceive others, but

moreover to deflect from the serious issues raised by me earlier at a press conference. The lengthy dissertation on regulations is clearly a diversion.

First, Mr King begins with a clever tactic of disinformation.He notes that there is "the unfortunate perception of a fight between His Worship and senior officers".

At the press briefing I made it very clear that the majority of senior officers were co-operative, working diligently, some I said beyond the call of duty in the interest of the city. I named those who from my observation were making a genuine effort. They were : The Asst. and Deputy Town Clerks, The Asst. and Deputy Engineer, The Medical Officer of Health and all of his senior staff, including the Chief Meat and Food Inspector and Chief Cleansing Officer, the mechanical engineer, the Clerk of Markets and Deputy and the Chief Constable and Deputy.

Mr King has the tape of my presentation to establish the truth. Incidentally, he ordered the video operator to hand over the tape to him. Consistent efforts by my staff to secure a copy have failed up to the time of writing.

That fact deals eloquently with the next bit of disinformation by this gentleman which asserts that "This is why, too, we have been co-operating with His Worship the Mayor himself at the council, etc".

For those other than those senior officers named, the exact opposite is the case. At the press conference I avoided some of the sordid cases of impropriety. Save to recall that for nine months, the PRO failed to have two fluorescent tubes replaced in the lobby leading to the Mayor's office. Result, for most of last year VIP's had to experience a dark passage on their way to visit the Mayor. I drew this to the attention of the Town Clerk on more than one occasion. Eventually, I purchased from my own pocket the two tubes and had them installed.

Another example of the co-operation the PRO talked about; two years ago, I suggested that at the end of August each year he should check on things to be done for Christmas. This included ordering Christmas cards for the office.

During the second week of December when it was drawn to my attention that we had no cards for the office I reminded the PRO of my earlier recommendation. He replied with nonchalance that it slipped him.

I need not burden the letter with other examples of co-operation by the PRO and his ilk, except to remind the public that at the press conference I suggested an examination of the disc in the M&CC's computer used by the PRO to prove what I know that over 80% of the material has absolutely nothing to do with the work of the Council.

Next the CEEPRO Project, l998, which he gloats about, is a classic example of a serious breach of protocol, a flagrant violation of the very rules, laws, regulations and norms, which, the gentleman has articulated so well, and is indeed the main burden of his contention.

In l988 a group of senior officers bypassed all committees of the Council, the Mayor and Council itself and put in place this so called Environmental Enhancement Programme.

There was no project document and therefore no proper advance costing. The community was not involved in advance. The project came to the Mayor and City Council as a deed done. The finance committee had great difficulty following how the enormous sums were being expended and had it aborted.

As the PRO said the law, which governs the functioning of the municipality, "does not make any provision for anyone to take decisions outside of Council. It encourages inclusively by defining the contours of the decision-making process and confining this process to all thirty councillors etc." This statement continues "The Town Clerk - is constrained to implement only those decisions taken by council via the statutory meetings. The law itself does not authorise the Town Clerk to implement decisions made at any other level or forum, even if the Mayor were to request her to do so. This is the crux of the matter." His reference to a decision made since l998 to appoint an officer to help in examining the many facilities we have and that are idle in order to decide whether to enter a joint venture or dispose of it, has been frustrated because the Town Clerk has refused to put in place arrangements to recruit such a person.

Result, a three-man committee consisting of Councillors Oscar Clarke, Pradhodial Sattan and myself appointed by the Council could not advance the process because no one in the Town Clerk's Office seemed willing to or capable of analysing the several proposals received from interested persons, but more on this type of behaviour at a later stage.

At my press conference I gave but one of many examples of the flaunting of decisions of full council. It was a requirement that the City Engineer submit his programme of work in advance of its execution, so that concerned citizens and councillors could know what was likely to take place in their community, but more importantly to help by monitoring the work and getting the wider community participation.

Except for the brief period when Ms Beverly Johnson acted as City Engineer, this requirement of Full Council has been ignored and the Town Clerk seems unable, for whatever reason, to get the City Engineer to comply with the decision. A request to supply a list of all available equipment has also been ignored.

The request to supply a staff list for scrutiny has also been ignored, and this is a very serious matter when we hear of sinecures at City Hall.

At the press conference I gave an example of the town clerk's refusal to respond to queries, which any citizen should receive. I gave only two examples.

(l) The M&CC mason found making concrete blocks for months at the back of the GLGOU Union Hall. This was long after that building was completed,and handed over. The huge pile of blocks being made by an employee paid by Council could have nothing to do with that building. No satisfying reply, except an absurd suggestion that I should ask the union.

(2) Carpenters were seen making a queen size bed at the stone depot. I wrote the Town Clerk asking her to explain, since a check at all of our facilities revealed that no such bed was ordered.No reply. These are only two examples.

We have been unable to get clear answers on a large number of questions over a long period of time such as a proper report on the monies spent on the Bourda outpost.

Mr King's last paragraph is at best self-serving.

Yours faithfully,

Hamilton Green JP


City of Georgetown