City Council Round-Up
By Cecil Griffith
June 30, 2003
|Related Links:||Articles on Georgetown|
|Letters Menu||Archival Menu|
A report prepared by the town clerk’s office shows that in 1998 revenue amounted to just over $6M while expenditure was nearly $22.25M and showing no improvement. At last Monday’s statutory meeting city ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’ discussed a number of proposals by the City Engineer Cephas James in which he pointed out that “the sums collected cannot even cover the salaries paid to workers of the cemetery.”
The cemetery is under the direct control of the city engineer who noted that at present the section is experiencing problems caused by the lack of adequate resources which affects the maintenance of the facility.
He continued...”the area is water-logged, the office is in a state of disrepair, as well as the fence and all the roads are in need of rehabilitation...”
The city engineer has suggested the removal of the present subsidy on the burial of destitute persons which is paid by the Ministry of Health, a reduction in the number of gravediggers on the council’s payroll and the acceptance of responsibility by funeral homes for all burials.
Other proposals include a maintenance fee of $1,000 per month which will be charged and prepaid or paid yearly for those persons who have bought spots in Le Repentir. Failure to pay the fee could result in tombs being recycled after a ten-year period, when the tombs could be safely opened and cleaned.
Contracting out the weeding and cleaning of the cemetery has also been proposed. In 1998 a special committee of councillors headed by People’s National Congress Reform councillor and former mayor, Ranwell Jordan, and Good and Green Guyana councillor, Harold Kissoon, carried out an investigation into the cemetery and made recommendations, for improving the revenue base of Le Repentir. Despite a number of queries at statutory meetings by the two city ‘fathers’ the situation remained the same.
At the end of the debate it was agreed that the city engineer’s report was flawed and that a meeting be summoned to come up with an acceptable plan.
A hopeless situation
Mayor Hamilton Green has acknowledged that the council has “neither the human nor the financial resources to tackle the mosquito problem in Georgetown..” He has appealed to councillors to encourage citizens to co-operate by observing the city’s by-laws as they govern sanitation.
The mosquito nuisance was raised when PNCR councillor Desmond Moses told his colleagues that Bourda is being taken over by bush and weeds while citing several yards in Queenstown and Alberttown where the overgrowth and clogged drains are a threat to the health of citizens. He received strong support from councillor Kissoon who drew councillors’ attention to what is taking place in the Lodge area.
Councillor Moses expressed concern over the damaged sewerage mains in the capital and chastised the Medical Officer of Health’s department for not dealing with persons who fail to comply with the environmental laws of the city.
He expressed strong dissatisfaction with the sixteen-member environmental staff, who are hardly seen going into yards to carry out inspections... “maybe they are too well dressed.” Councillors Rocky Mann, Jordan and Kissoon also joined in the criticisms with the People’s Progressive Party/C’s Mann concluding.. “Nobody cares”.
Having the final say councillor Moses longed for the days of the old sanitary inspectorate where these officers were always visible on the job. But he was outdone by the ‘Chief Citizen’... “We are dealing with a different socio-economic environment”... nowadays the mayor continued, people are not ashamed to go to court and prisoners who are being taken to and from the jail in the city no longer hide their faces, but are bold enough to wave at passers-by.
Why are members of the city constabulary stationed outside the United States embassy in Georgetown and not at the markets? This was the question posed by GGG councillor Kissoon to Mayor Green at the last statutory meeting of the council. He also wanted to know who authorized this new role for constables.
The meeting was told that the arrangement was made through the chief constable and payment is made to the constabulary... this reply seemed to have satisfied those seated around the horseshoe-shaped table.
The plan for the Caricom building at Turkeyen has been found...it was in the city engineer’s office but approval is still to be given while construction moved apace.
A spokesman for the engineer’s department has given the assurance that the matter would be amicably settled.