Councillors vote against road consultants City Council Round-Up
By Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
July 15, 2002

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Two decisions taken by city councillors last week have left more questions than answers which could return to embarrass them. But led by Mayor Hamilton Green, the other 29 councillors running true to form will 'soldier on' regardless.

The 'mix-up' signals coming out of City Hall have to do with a decision at last Monday's statutory meeting focusing on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and last Thursday's specially summoned meeting during which a lack of confidence motion was passed in the City Engineer's department.

It was Deputy Mayor Robert Williams, who is chairman of the council's finance committee, who spearheaded the debate on the IDB with special attention being paid to the advice of the consultants identified by that international organisation, for road construction in the city.

The Deputy Mayor made out a case which received the approval of the council for by-passing the IDB consultants when Phase 2 of the road works are to be done, under an arrangement between the Government of Guyana and the IDB.

He pointed to the work which was done recently on Norton Street, describing it as unsatisfactory.

The city council has been building roads for the past 50 years, said the Deputy Mayor. The building of roads undertaken by the city is the responsibility of the City Engineer's department.

The irony

Three days after city 'fathers' and 'mothers' expressed support for shutting out the IDB consultants and giving the job solely to the city engineer Mr Cephas James and his staff, a lack of confidence motion in the operations of this department was approved at a specially convened meeting of councillors. The original motion which was moved by People's Progressive Party/Civic councillor Rudolph Harris and seconded by Mayor Green, leader of the Good and Green Guyana (GGG) had named the City Engineer, but it was amended on the advice of some councillors including attorney-at-law C.M.L. John, Harold `Lightweight' Kissoon and the Deputy Mayor.

According to the motion, despite reminders, the department has failed to comply with several assignments within the given time frame including drainage works and repairs to buildings.

This is not the first time the City Engineer's Department has been put under the microscope during the life of this council.

The late Mr Liburd a well-known architect and engineer had submitted a report to the council at a cost of $400,000. His recommendations were not implemented. Let's hope that the committee to be appointed to carry out this second investigation does not suffer the same fate.

The blame game

The unauthorised dumping of garbage as well as earth along Hadfield Street in Lodge and parts of D'Urban Park has at last gained the attention of councillors. At last Monday's statutory meeting the Deputy Mayor, while deploring the dumping by the public, suggested the mobilisation of staff from the city police, the City Engineer's Department and the environment unit to constantly monitor the situation.

He said trucks were dumping 'stuff' along Hadfield Street but before any finger pointing took place around the horseshoe-shaped table the council was told that none of the trucks belong to contractors engaged by City Hall. "We will have to deal with them", was councillor Williams' response.

No money, no roads

Councillors' attention was drawn to what has been described as a serious situation which has developed over the lack of funds to repair the city's roads.

People's National Congress/R councillor Ranwell Jordan described the current patching of roads as foolhardy and a waste of money.

But the 'chief citizen' in reply said "it will take all of the council's budget as well as the government's subvention to do the roads in this city."


***Some 50 male employees of the city council have been outfitted with locally made shirts which carry City Hall's logo on the pockets. It costs the council $2,000 per shirt.

This is by far a better arrangement than the constabulary uniforms fiasco in which purchases were made overseas and when questions were asked it was discovered that the Florida-based company had disappeared over night.

***Unbelievable but true... the appearance of a vendor before the council last Monday revealed that when she applied to open a 'cake shop' in Queenstown, she wanted to sell provisions, groceries, fruits and vegetables.