Discussions between city, govt on TPL Water St property stalled
By Cecil Griffith
October 1, 2003
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A discussion on a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the city council and the government on the utilisation of the Toolsie Persaud Ltd. property on Water Street had to be postponed after the council’s negotiating team raised a number of questions on issues contained in the document.
The draft was sent to Town Clerk Beulah Williams and circulated to councillors.
At last Monday’s statutory meeting the leader of the PNCR on the council, Oscar Clarke forbade fellow party councillor Junior Garrett, one of the three councillors selected for the negotiating team, from attending.
According to councillor Clarke, who is also general secretary of the PNCR, the council would not be acting within its rights to enter into such an understanding and his party would not agree to signing such a document until the government fulfills its obligations.
After making his point councillor Clarke then issued his instructions to councillor Garrett who was seated close by - “you will not be there.” Early last month the council had selected Harold Kissoon and Llewellyn John, both members of the Good and Green Guyana party, and councillor Garrett to be members of the negotiating team. Others selected were the Town Clerk and the Clerk of Markets.
Both councillors Kissoon and Garrett were absent from the first meeting with the government early last month because they were not notified of the meeting “in a timely manner”. Mayor Hamilton Green who presided at the last statutory meeting said he could not understand the attitude of councillor Garrett when at the first meeting, there was general agreement around the horseshoe-shape table that the PNCR councillor would be part of the negotiating team.
Cabinet Secretary Dr Roger Luncheon is reported to have told the first meeting in the presence of the Minister in the Local Government Ministry, Clinton Collymore that the MOU is intended to underscore the relationship between the government and the municipality as it relates to the utilisation of the acquired land and management of the facility and its environs.
In the MOU draft the government states that it is willing to assign the management of the site on Water Street to the council and will provide all support for legal issues related to the original acquisition of the site and those arising subsequently.
According to the MOU the council must undertake to maintain the city’s streets in commercial Georgetown from where the vendors were removed, free from the street sellers. The council under the proposed terms of the MOU must report the actions it has taken to prevent the return of vending on Water Street.
The city council at its next statutory meeting is expected to have before it a report from the negotiating team on the next step.