An Interim Management Committee for Georgetown? City Council Round-Up
By Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
September 22, 2003

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Squatters who previously occupied buildings in the city which have been demolished by the city council have come up with a new strategy.

They are remaining on the property and erecting small shacks and tents by using materials from the old structures.

At the Georgetown Cricket Club Ground where demolition took place some two months ago, new squatters have taken up residence living in shacks and tents where there are no sanitation facilities or running water or electricity.

At another site at the corner of D’Urban and Smyth streets the demolished building which housed a bakery and later, living quarters, has been replaced by shacks and a bicycle-repair shop.

A similar situation exists in the vicinity of Broad and Lombard streets.

The threat of the building at the corner to passers-by has been brought to the attention of the council.

The time is ripe for the council to take a firm stand against owners of properties in the city who allow their buildings through neglect, to reach the point where demolition is the only solution.

Why not an inventory of all dilapidated structures in the capital which pose a threat to citizens? There are scores of buildings in several parts of Georgetown owned by absentee landlords, who from all appearances seem to have abandoned their properties.

These buildings especially in what were once residential areas are havens for thieves and bandits.

City Hall should insist wherever possible using by-laws, that property owners having got rid of the squatters with the help of the council immediately erect fences which would prevent any further illegal occupancy, using Wellington and Regent streets as an example.

An IMC for Georgetown?

What about an Interim Management Committee (IMC) for Georgetown, the Guyana capital?

This question is being asked in certain circles inside and outside city hall, following the recent announcement that President Bharrat Jagdeo and Opposition Leader Robert Corbin had met and “decided that the Linden Town Council be dissolved.”

This decision was taken in accordance with the Municipal and District Council’s Act, which also covers George-town.

A statement in the press last week quoted the minister within the local government ministry, Clinton Collymore, as saying that the government would proceed to dissolve the Linden Town Council with the support of the Leader of the Opposition and Lindeners.

According to the Minister, Lindeners and councillors have no more confidence in the operations of the Linden Town Council and there have been allegations about the mayor’s incompetence and the council’s inefficiency.

It could be assumed that the President and the Leader of the Opposition took their decision after careful consideration of the evidence before them on the administration of Linden.

There have been complaints by citizens in Georgetown about the way in which the city is run and the evidence is there for all to see that things are not getting better, despite the removal of the vendors from Water street.

Is another IMC on the cards for the capital, Minister Collymore?

A clean city

The cleaning initiative of a section of the city undertaken by the local Pan American Health Organisation office last Saturday, which was observed as Cleanliness and Citizenship Day 2003, with support from a number organizations agencies and government ministries, was an example of people getting together to do their civic duty.

The large turn-out of young people from the University of Guyana and other entities was heartening, and the work done by a small band of prisoners with help from the council workers in Tiger Bay must be appreciated.

The business community also responded to appeals for refreshments for these workers; special mention must be made of the management of Salt and Pepper, Campsite and Horseshoe Racing Service.

Let me take this opportunity through this column to draw the attention of some members of the cabinet as well as some officers in ministries that they are servants of the people, and when invitations from reputable organizations are sent to them to get their views and comments their presence or that of their representative should be an accepted norm. Minister Nadir attended the PAHO-sponsored rally outside Guyana Stores Saturday morning, so also did the British High Commissioner in Guyana, and Mayor Hamilton Green.

It is understood that PAHO’s Dr Paulo Teixeira has a long-term plan for the seawall restoration

Good Luck!

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