City gets vendors mall plan
City Council Roundup
by Cecil Griffith
March 8, 2004
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The city council has been presented with a plan for the building of a modern shopping mall to house some 500 vendors now occupying the disputed Toolsie Persaud Ltd land on Water Street.
The project proposal has been presented by a retired Guyanese and civil engineer Mr Rockliffe Patrick Pitt.
He proposes to build a three-storey structure complete with adequate facilities including sanitary conveniences, fresh water supply, and suitable lighting, with each of the four external walls of the rectangular building facing a street.
The estimated cost has been set at $650M.
According to Mr Rockliffe, who drafted the plan free of cost, funding could be acquired through loans from the commercial banks and other financing agencies, a pre-financing agreement with a construction firm and/or consortium and by advance payments from individuals and firms for the rental of prime space in the proposed building, which is to carry two escalators.
A report by the newly appointed Chief Environment Health Officer Michael Balkaran has warned of a serious outbreak of gastroenteritis if corrective measures are not immediately taken to improve the city's water supply system.
Councillors have been told in the report now in their possession that in Kingston, Lodge, East Ruimveldt and Agricola "service lines could be seen submerged in sewage and waste water... where a defective line could result in infiltration.."
The municipal officer cited the disposal of human waste in some range houses and yards and pointed to certain locations where septic tanks are below the ground level and where the possibility exists that they are over flowing.
The complaints by residents have also been mentioned in the report.
The spotlight is on the Food Hygiene section of the Medical Officer of Health M.O.H department and the Food and Drugs Department over the ordered closure of the New Thriving restaurant in Kitty.
What seems to be the problem is who is responsible for issuing closure orders against restaurants. The question could be asked... was the Food and Drugs Department's action precipitate? There are conflicting reports from the two bodies over the conditions at the restaurant when separate visits were made by the municipal officers and the Food and Drugs people.
City 'fathers' and 'mothers' must deal with this apparent conflict of responsibilities and or authority as a priority so as to avoid future occurrences which if not properly handled could ruin such businesses taking into account the wide publicity given to the recent New Thriving incident.
It is a known fact that the Food Hygiene section like other departments within the city council is hopelessly short-staffed and poorly supervised.
The M.O.H, Dr. Shury needs to monitor more closely the work of the wardens whose job as I understand it is to visit yards and households checking the existing sanitary environment. Unfortunately these employees are seldom seen around Georgetown. It would be of interest to this column if their duties could be made available and how they are supervised.
City Hall must put the necessary systems in place with support from the M.O.H department and the constabulary to deal with the mushrooming mobile food vendors.
Councillors at their last statutory meeting focused their attention on the top men in charge of municipal finances.
City Treasurer Rudolph Edinboro and Accounts Manager Andrew Meredith were summoned to appear before councillors to explain how they are handling the council's financial affairs.
Good and Green Guyana (GGG) Councillors Gwen McGowan and Patricia Chase-Green, both chairpersons of committees requested an update on outstanding payments by the council for NIS contributions for employees as well as PAYE and pensions. Councillor McGowan claimed that former employees were being given a run around when they visit the City Treasurer's department to collect what is due to them.
People's National Con-gress Reform councillor Junior Garrett, who sits on the council's finance committee showing his disgust at the explanations given by the two officers called for an independent investigation of the department.
It was obvious after the explanations by both officers that councillors from the three political parties represented on the council were not swayed by the argument presented by the City Treasurer and the budget manager.
The department has also been under fire for not providing sufficient and important information to the Finance Committee headed by deputy mayor Robert Williams which would assist in an early preparation of the council's budget for this year.
The response from Town Clerk Beulah Williams was slow in coming but when it came it was blunt and scolding… "Councillors should be more choosey with their language... when soliciting information from officers of the council..."