New Amsterdamers cite recreation, garbage facilities as sore points By Jeune Bailey Van-Keric
Stabroek News
February 23, 2002

Citizens in New Amsterdam have cited garbage collection and poorly maintained recreation facilities as sore points, according to a report titled: "Strengthened Local Governance Base Line Data Collection".

The recently prepared report was funded by the US-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), under a grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

New Amsterdamers dislike the inadequate services offered on roadways, drainage clearance and garbage collection/disposal by the Town Council, the report stated.

The project was prepared and submitted by New Amsterdam resident, Paulette Henry, wife of the deputy mayor, and was conducted during October-November 2001 to assess the issues affecting citizens in the township and to ascertain the interaction between the Town Council and its citizens. It revealed that the citizens were not fully aware of all the services available whilst even councillors interviewed were not aware of all the services provided by the municipality.

The report was officially handed to New Amsterdam Mayor Neville Johnson by Winston Cramer, Deputy Director, NDI at the `chief citizen's' office in a simple ceremony Tuesday afternoon.

The presentation was also witnessed by Deputy Mayor Claude Henry, and officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),

Ms S. Razack and Wiltshire Hinds.

Cramer, who along with the members of the EPA were on a two-day visit to the township, stated that his agency has realised that the municipality is unable to address all the issues arising from the concerns of its citizens and as such the pilot project is a new approach for dealing with urban matters.

New Amsterdam was selected as the community to obtain baseline data as it is the urban centre chosen by USAID to implement its "making cities" work strategy in Guyana which provides an opportunity to monitor and measure change.

In the report, the data suggested that citizens are primarily aware of services with high visibility such as garbage disposal, drainage, roadways and markets. Other services such as the maintenance of recreational facilities and cemeteries, the processing of plans for buildings, though not highly visible, are known by some to be a municipal service.

In an analysis of the survey data on the frequency of garbage collection, using a six-point scale ranging from very often to don't know, 5.3% of the respondents could not state the regularity of garbage collection and 22.7% indicated that garbage was never collected in their area.

Responding to the regularity of road repair, the document revealed that 1.3% indicated that they were beneficiaries in this area while 37.3% indicated that they never benefited from repairs of the roadway by the municipality.

According to the statistics, 60% of the respondents stated that the drains in their area were very rarely cleared or desilted, while 18% said that they could not state the frequency of clearing.

Respondents in Glasgow have expressed dissatisfaction with their municipality's maintenance of the cemetery, and indicated that it was the community which upkeeps the burial site, while 54.7% of their counterparts in Stanleytown where the other cemetery is located, indicated that they were satisfied with the maintenance.

On the issue of recreational sites, respondents have expressed varying levels of dissatisfaction over the facilities provided by the municipality. More than half of the respondents, 53.3%, expressed discontent with the current services.

The main recreation sites are Esplanade, Burnham Park, Bermine Ground, and the Basketball Court. The Esplanade is currently the best even though much work still needs to be done to make it viable.

Henry in her document noted that the council has had in its possession for some time monies from the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture to enhance the Basketball Court but the reasons for not executing this are still unclear.