These City Council rumblings Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
January 10, 2002

LATE last year, we noted that the City Council has not been the most popular of bodies among citizens and those who have to be in Georgetown on business or just passing through.

We pointed out that its successes have been few and that there is a lot to be done to make Georgetown a city of which all can once again be justifiably proud.

We had argued that in the face of the straits and problems it faced, it deserved a break for trying to cope with some major problems and referred to the ambitious cleaning-up programme on which it was spending some $60M to clear the network of drains around Georgetown and its environs.

Town Clerk, Ms. Beulah Williams had noted that the council had not carried out such an extensive programme in more than 10 years.

There was a general feeling that the council was at last moving with renewed vigour and that it deserved a chance to get going.

President Bharrat Jagdeo on a tour in November had a close-up view of city drains clogged soon after being cleared by contractors.

He called for a new spirit of cooperation from Georgetown citizens to help the municipality curb its enormous drainage problem and backed the imposition of stiff penalties for those caught littering.

"After the pounding it has taken over the years City Hall deserves a break in trying to make its drainage project effective", we urged.

Now in the New Year, it seems as if City Hall is back to its old ways.

In the first week of the New Year, Mayor Hamilton Green called a news conference to announce that he was contemplating approaching the Ministry of Local Government to discipline four senior officers because they are allegedly not cooperating with him to enhance the operations of the city.

Among the four are Town Clerk, Ms. Beulah Williams and Public Relations Officer, Mr. Royston King.

Nothing much has been heard about the charges since or whether the Local Government Ministry has been asked to pursue the disciplinary course.

Whatever the merits or demerits of Mr. Green's charges, this was not the kind of morale booster citizens of the capital city would have been looking forward to at the start of a New Year.

The problems of the city cannot be competently addressed if the Mayor and his senior officers argue about who can give the orders and who should follow the orders. Chain of management issues should have been thrashed out to the satisfaction of all a long time ago and it is a little too late in the day for the Mayor to have realised that the law needed to be changed to make clear who should be taking orders from who.

The incident, unfortunately, reinforces the impression that City Hall is too often on a merry go round and this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue.

Managing and running the affairs of a capital city is serious business and the task of restoring Georgetown to its former glory is so enormous that it makes its management even more serious an issue.

There can be no room for petty skirmishes while the city cries out for improvement and the Government should give some more serious thought to addressing a resolution of the unsatisfactory state of affairs that has been prevailing for much too long.