City Council Round-Up
Mayor at centre of book rumpus
By Cecil Griffith
December 22, 2003
Mayor Hamilton Green has found himself at the centre of yet another mini controversy which has its genesis in the writing of a book on Georgetown.
Among the questions asked at the last statutory meeting of the council are who authorised the writing of the book and what are its objectives.
Last month, councillors were requested by the Town Clerk to submit their photographs with brief bio data. November 31, 2003 was the deadline.
So far 13 of the 30 city 'fathers' and 'mothers' have complied... six from the Good and Green Guyana (GGG) party led by the Mayor, two from the People's National Congress Reform (PNCR) and five from the People's Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) including councillor Fitzgerald Agard who leads his party's group on the council.
At the last statutory meeting GGG councillors Gwen McGowan and Llewellyn John, instructed the Town Clerk to return their photograph and bio data now in her possession.
Councillor McGowan asked if the council had commissioned anyone to write such a book and she wondered on whose authority the Mayor had embarked on such an assignment. Councillor John was of the opinion that the book venture had been officially authorised by the council. "This does not seem to be so", he added.
The PNCR's Junior Garrett, while agreeing that the Mayor has a right to write a book, said that such an undertaking must be done with the blessings of the council. He has no intention of complying with the Town Clerk's request, making the point that the PRO should have been involved. PNCR councillor and former mayor Ranwell Jordan said he would only comply if certain fundamental questions are answered, while another member of his party, Desmond Moses enquired "who would collect the proceeds from the book after it goes on sale?"
GGG councillor Patricia Chase-Green accused some of her party colleagues of stirring up an ant's nest. Councillors McGowan and John took umbrage at the remark.
The council's Public Relations Officer (PRO) Royston King whose name was mentioned during the debate was allowed to explain the role of his department in the preparations for the book. He told the meeting that he was never asked "to do any work" on such a book and reminded councillors that he takes his instructions from the Town Clerk and the council only. Deputy Mayor Robert Williams, who presided over the meeting, said he had been asked to submit his bio data for use on the council's website and not for a book to be authored by the 'chief citizen.' He however praised Mayor Green for his initiative.
Our cultural heritage
The National Trust of Guyana has been given permission to erect a bronze interpretive marker at City Hall.
A document from the chairman of the Trust, Professor James Rose said it is part of the ongoing effort to preserve the cultural heritage sites in Guyana.
The marker fabricated by the local Brass Aluminium and Cast Iron Foundry will measure 12 inches by 8 inches and is accentuated with the logo of the National Trust of Guyana, the name of the building and the date of construction.
This column hopes that when the unveiling ceremony takes place senior Government functionaries, businessmen and representatives of the wider community would be invited and given the opportunity to see the state of the Town Hall. The Concert Hall is a disgrace.
For the second time in two months an important visitor to Georgetown, the Guyana capital has bypassed the Mayor and City Council.
At the last statutory meeting, Deputy Mayor Williams, in the 'chair', spoke about the disrespect shown by the organisers of the recent visit to the city by Miss Universe 2003, Amelia Vega, from the Dominican Republic.
The Deputy Mayor told councillors that on the arranged date he had waited in the council chamber to present the key to the city to the Dominican Republic beauty, but she did not show up, instead he revealed she was seen shopping around town.
Councillor McGowan, while remaining in her seat, reminded the meeting that this was not the first time in recent months that an important visitor had been discourteous to the Mayor and councillors of Georgetown, "it happened when the Queen's cousin was in town." The councillor appeared to be speaking about the recent visit of Prince Edward, the son of the Queen.
The Personnel and Training Committee headed by councillor Chase-Green is to investigate.
Let me be bold enough to speak on behalf of some of the residents of Queenstown to thank the Ministry of Works for the road patching and overlaying, in some cases, of parts of this area in the city not forgetting the role of assistant City Engineer, 'Hoppo' Alleyne.
The city is crying out for an up-to-date building code with inputs from City Hall, the national police, the fire service and qualified architects.
The recent fires indicate that all is not well with the way in which internal planning is handled especially where inflammable materials are stored or used on a day-to- day basis.
The chief meat and food inspectorate has to be more vigilant with the proliferation of eating houses and roadside vendors all over the city and under some questionable sanitary conditions.