Acrimony in the council
City Council Round-Up
By Cecil Griffith
March 31, 2003
The inclusion of the secretary of the city council’s International Relations Committee, Mr Wayne Orderson on the current visit to China by Mayor Hamilton Green has drawn the anger of a number of councillors.
At their last statutory meeting with Deputy Mayor Robert Williams, the presiding city ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’ were presented with a document which carried the signatures of 20 councillors which it was claimed gave approval for Mr Orderson who is also the council systems analyst to accompany the mayor to China.
The document which took the round-robin route during a weekend was challenged by some councillors, who argued that it did not reflect a decision by the council at a previous meeting when the mayor’s trip had been discussed.
That decision did not include Mr Orderson as a member of the ‘chief citizen’s’ team. A statement from the government had said that Mayor Green would be a member of the President’s delegation and no other person from City Hall.
Some of the councillors who signed the round-robin letter pointed out that no officer from the council had been selected to accompany the ‘chief citizen.’
People’s Progressive Party/C Councillor Fitz Agard admitted signing the letter but thought it was only meant for members of the council’s finance committee, of which he is a member. He was certain that Mr Orderson’s name was not mentioned.
“Mr Orderson would not have been my choice; I would have preferred someone from the City Engineer’s department,” said the PPP/C councillor.
Councillor Llewelyn John who heads the legal committee and one of the signatories said he was unaware that the systems analyst was to travel to China, since the letter did not mention his name.
Good and Green Guyana Councillor Patricia Chase- Green wanted to know what the fuss was about, noting that the city treasurer and the city engineer had left the country under similar arrangements. People’s National Congress/R councillor and former mayor, Ranwell Jordan expressed dismay, informing his colleagues that as Vice Chairman of the International Relations Committee, no one had sought his signature when the round-robin exercise was mounted.
Town Clerk Beulah Williams told the meeting that the council had agreed that only the mayor should go to China as a representative of the council, and there was a document in circulation naming an additional person to be part of the council’s team.
But the PNC/R councillor Junior Garret an accountant by profession had heard enough and blew his cool. “Mr Deputy Mayor, I did not see the document which was sent around to other councillors. Who are the additional persons accompanying Mayor Green?” he asked.
A one-man show
Councillor Garret adopting a more aggressive stance declared, “The Mayor must understand that this is not a one-man show; the GGG must understand that not only they alone control this council.”
When the deputy mayor intervened to explain that there was a second document clarifying who was going to accompany the ‘chief citizen’ the debate then became acrimonious with Councillor Jordan challenging the ‘chair’ to name that part of the standing orders which would prevent his party colleague from making his points, after he had been told to take his seat. As the debate continued Councillor Garret asked the presiding officer to be excused. He was obviously dissatisfied with the way in which the entire issue had been handled.
This led GGG councillor Gwen McGowan to remark, “it is [at] times like these that I really enjoy myself at council meetings.”
The deputy mayor attempting to bring a closure to the rancorous debate disclosed that there was a second document issued by the mayor in which Mr Orderson had been identified to be the ‘chief citizen’s staff officer on the China trip.
It was explained that it was Mr Orderson who had taken part in preliminary discussions with the Chinese in Guyana on the details relating to the projects which had been earmarked for assistance by the Chinese government to the Georgetown city council.
This week could see the dismantling of a long-standing eyesore in the city.
City Hall and the owner of the dilapidated building on Wellington and Regent streets, which is still occupied, are to cooperate in an exercise aimed at demolishing the building which has been described as a threat to passers-by.
An attempt was made some years ago to dismantle the building, but the occupants refused to remove and the demolition workers were forced to retreat in the face of threats and aggressive behaviour from the tenants and other users of the commercial spot.
The council has vowed to embark on a plan this year to rid the city of buildings which are unfit for human habitation and will also be paying attention to those old and unattended buildings as well as those areas in the city which are left abandoned after recent fires.