Tea, dinner and a 'culture of peace' City Council Round-Up
by Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
March 4, 2002

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City `fathers' and `mothers' have requested a brief from the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr Frank Naraine on how parliamentarians manage their time when the House sits as it relates to the break periods for tea and dinner if the need arises.

At last Monday's statutory meeting Good and Green Guyana (GGG) councillor, Harold Kissoon shortly after four o'clock drew the attention of Mayor Hamilton Green, to the time and the lengthy agenda items which were still to be discussed. "It is high time that councillors be supplied with snacks when debates go late into the afternoon..."

The GGG councillor had earlier commented on a document which was before the council noting that $12,000 was spent when the senior officers met privately at City Hall.

"Is this true?" Mayor Green enquired from Town Clerk Beulah Williams... "that at officers' meeting certain facilities are extended that are not available to councillors..." The `chief citizen' said he found it very strange that the administration could find the money for snacks and no consideration was given to councillors...

The leader of the People's National Congress/R faction on the council, Oscar Clarke, a former parliamentarian, said he was unaware that there was a cut-off point for debates around the horseshoe table. If we are to take our work seriously, he noted, "time must be of the utmost importance..."

Councillor Clarke was in favour of snacks being served at a specified time during statutory meetings. The mayor said a break for snacks had been exercising his mind.

When the break was taken shortly after 4:00pm, a few councillors were served with snacks but not before Mayor Green instructed the town clerk to record the eating habits of councillors for the nest statutory meeting. These meetings begin at two o'clock in the afternoons.

After a 20 minute interval councillors resumed their seats.

The duty free fiasco

The city treasurer is yet to locate the original letter which he claimed had been sent by him to the Secretary to the Treasury requesting duty free concessions for two vehicles for use by City Hall.

A query from GGG councillor Pat Chase-Green revealed that a down payment had been made for the vehicle earmarked for the city police. A firm answer could not be given when People's Progressive Party/Civic councillor Rudolph Harris asked if the other vehicle, a Pajero, for the treasurer's department was still being acquired. He complained that councillors were being missiled by some of the officers. This issue is still unresolved.

Church money The whereabouts of a cheque for half a million dollars which was paid over to City Hall for grading in front of St Sidwell's Church has led Mayor Green to admit, "It has gone too far... this is a tissue of deception..." When City Treasurer Roderick Edinboro was summoned to explain, he said the cheque had been handed to him by another officer of the council in the City Hall compound, but that he had not been told what it was for. He thought it was a contribution and sought proper guidelines.

Councillor Clarke who was recently elected vice chairman of the Finance Committee, which is headed by Deputy Mayor Robert Williams, said he had found the financial procedures of the council archaic, adding that once the council became involved the necessary information should have flowed. "Handling church money is serious business," he warned.

The Deputy Mayor wondered why it took so long to get requisitions from the treasurer's department, to purchase materials. The PPP/C councillor Fitz Agard asked what was the difficulty? Some work had been done.

In a second explanation after being told that God was watching, Mr Edinboro informed the meeting that the money had been paid over to the city engineer's department two weeks ago. Before it was agreed that this matter be followed up at the next council meeting, the `chief citizen' had the last say: "I will not head this group and have an administration that treats us like dirt... we are being taken for granted, we must let the public know..."

A municipal court

The mayor has expressed grateful thanks to the Chancellor, Chief Justice and Chief Magistrate (ag) for their kind consideration in facilitating the setting up of a municipal court. First reports say that Magistrate Yaw will be the man in charge. Now that the city `fathers' and `mothers'' prayers for such a court have been answered, it is hoped that more cases will be placed before the magistrate by the city constabulary and the council's legal officer.


A pledge: the Mayor has committed himself to a "culture of peace which demands peace." He told this to councillors last Monday after returning home from South Korea as the guest of the Moonies, where he was one of the speakers on Global peace. AWOL... PNC/R councillor Egbert Atkins has been struck off the list of councillors after he failed to report for meetings during a two-month period without excuses. The PNC/R will have to find a new councillor to replace him.