`Alienation' sparks feud between `chief citizen', councillor
City Council Round-Up
with Cecil Griffith
November 19, 2003
What started out as simple explanations of positions on a matter involving the National Trust and the Georgetown City Council turned into a rancorous verbal exchange at last week's statutory meeting, between Mayor Hamilton Green and another member of the Good and Green Guyana (GGG), councillor and attorney-at-law, Llewellyn John.
Both councillors have documented their arguments and feelings which now form part of the municipal records.
The issue centres on the meaning of the word `alienation' which was used by councillor John in his presentation during the debate in council last month on the legal implications relating to the acquisition of properties by the National Trust.
Councillor John, in order to prove the correctness of his arguments cited Funk and Wagnalls New Practical Standard dictionary and Webster's New Twentieth Century dictionary of the English language.
He also reminded his leader that he is a member of the Guyana Bar, who was trained in the law.
The Mayor, in a memorandum to the council, had first accused councillor John of making statements that were alarmist, pointing out that his party colleagues failed to show "one bit of evidence that the National Trust proposes to take over any of the council's property including the Stabroek Market."
After describing Councillor John's arguments as otiose and grumous (lumpy), the Mayor said unless he can provide the necessary evidence to support his arguments then they are false and "one may deem him a reckless prevaricator ..." while wondering why after some 30 years, the issue is now being raised.
The 'chief citizen' warned councillors to be wary of the misguided, the unlearned and the confused.
Stabroek Market clock
City 'fathers' and 'mothers' are still to make up their minds on what to do about the Stabroek Market clock which has been out of order for as many years as the present crop of councillors has been warming the seats around the horseshoe-shaped table.
Earlier this month, councillors had before them two proposals put forward by David Todd and David Shayt of the Smithsonian Institute in the United States and an electronics/electrical engineer, Carlyle Benjamin, resident in Guyana.
The proposals dealt with the restoration of the Stabroek Market clock.
Benjamin had suggested that the old mechanical structure and system remain as a showpiece. The new system it is proposed would be electro-mechanical, by-passing the old system.
According to Benjamin's proposal, works should be executed in three phases with the installation of display lighting systems around the three sides of the clock with facilities for advertising lighting.
An electro-mechanical drive system connected to the utility power system with a battery back-up would be used. The Bourda market clock also forms part of the Benjamin-proposed rehabilitation plan.
But the Smithsonian team said that in the Benjamin plan, there is no guarantee that the clock would be operational after five years.
"The idea of an electronic clock is good..." said the Smithsonian team, but they are in disagreement with Benjamin's proposal.
They contend that there must be separate motors to power each of the four dials of the clock.
The use of the Stabroek Market clock as a tourist attraction does not go down well with the American experts. They argue that the integrity and historical features of the clock must be preserved at all cost.
Only a few weeks ago, the mayor gave strong backing to the retention of the city's old landmarks and gave strong support for the retention of the old street names. I well remember the late President Forbes Burnham's last public speech at the junction of Carmichael and what was once Murray streets - Quamina, when he threatened Carmichael that he was next, of course he was referring to the street. That was the time when the administration had embarked on a plan to remove all vestiges of our colonial past.
Talk ... No action
So city councillors are to meet in urgent session to examine the movement of container-hauling trucks and other eighteen-wheelers operating in Georgetown. This knee-jerk reaction to the Lombard Street fire is indeed laughable.
A proposal to limit and eventually ban the movement of such vehicles from the city centre had been before the council since insurance executive, Hans Barrow was chairman of the council's finance committee some ten years ago. So what is new around City Hall?
By the way, the vendor who sells raw chicken on Robb Street without any refrigeration facility remains on Bourda Street. I saw him operating last Thursday afternoon as members of the city police walked by.
Earlier this month, the council took a decision on the recommendation of the Chief Meat and Food Inspector, Andrew Garnett, that such a practice was against the city's by-laws. The vendor who does not own a stall in the market is reported to have said he had friends in high places...
Lest the Chief Constable has forgotten, people are still sleeping, cooking, cycle riding and playing football on that part of the Mall between Cummings and Light Streets. Why are there no signs warning persons of these breaches? Come on Town Clerk, it is time to bring pressure to bear on your senior staff.