City to foot bill for probe of engineer's dept -Mayor turns down trip
City Council Round-Up
by Cecil Griffith
June 21, 2004
The Georgetown City Council will have to foot the bill for the one-man commission of inquiry which is now investigating the City Engineer's Department.
Town Clerk Mrs Beulah Williams told this to the council at the last statutory meeting. The aborted first sitting of the commission which is headed by Mr Bernard Carter was raised at the meeting by Mayor Hamilton Green when he asked the Town Clerk (T.C.) to brief councillors on what really took place when the commission first met at City Hall two weeks ago.
The 'chief citizen' wanted to know if a date had been set for councillors to give evidence. Councillors as well as those who served before have been asked in the public notice carried in the Chronicle newspaper to appear before the commission.
The T.C. replied that she had no part to play in the work of the commission. With the exception of a few television spots last week after this newspaper reported the failure by the Local Government Ministry to properly advertise the existence of the commission, it's doubtful whether this week's sitting would see an improvement in the public's response, unless they are regular readers of this column.
The question could be asked why another inquiry into the City Engineer's Department. This is the third such exercise, but the recommendations are still to be enforced by the council with backup from the Jagdeo government.
As a Water Street businessman was heard to remark on reading about the mounting of the inquiry "the entire city council including councillors and heads of department should be investigated on their performance and if found derelict in their duties should be removed from office immediately…" He repeated the words of the late President Desmond Hoyte when he was asked for a comment on the work of city 'fathers' and 'mothers' … "They have done nothing…they should all go…." Since 1994 they are still there non-performing.
Not this time
Mayor Hamilton Green has turned down a trip to Miami in the United States to attend the 10th Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local Authorities under the theme "Local governance in the Americas - Past achievements and New Challenges."
The conference begins today.
As was expected the selection of the team to represent the city council sparked a heated debate across the horseshoe-shaped tabled. The international committee of the council which is headed by the Mayor at its last meeting had selected the 'chief citizen' to lead the delegation with the Deputy Mayor, councillor Robert Williams his alternate.
It was first suggested that five persons make up the delegation including the Town Clerk. At last week's statutory meeting the T.C. bluntly told councillors that because of the constraint facing the council financial provision could only be made for two persons to travel to Miami.
Giving his reasons for not going to Miami, the mayor said it is not possible for him to leave the country at this time and he suggested his deputy. But Mayor Green will be attending a gala dinner in his honour on June 26, 2004 sponsored by the South Florida Association of Guyanese.
The 'chief citizen' told the council that he would not be receiving council's financial input for his participation in the gala dinner. He will be utilising his own resources.
Good and Green Guyana councillor Mrs Patricia Chase-Green wants the council to pay greater attention to the quality of water being sold by a number of outlets in Georgetown. She pointed to the use of water from GWI's Shelter Belt facility by some of these businesses for sale to the public. "How is the water being purified and what are the chemicals, if any being used..."
A question has been raised by Mayor Green for councillors to ponder. It is the definition of a Mall. It seems when the Mall idea was first mooted by the mayor with strong support from his deputy and other members of the GGG the main concern was to show that a certain group of people in this society has the ability and capacity to move from small entrepreneurs...selling on the streets and pavements, to medium and large scale business people. A look at the Merriman Mall is a case in point … the idea was a failure and several members of the group that were to benefit have had some very sad tales to relate. At present the Mall is not only an eyesore but a money loser and a drain on the municipal purse. It is difficult to understand why that part of the Mall from Orange Walk to Cummings Street…from which the markets section gets a sizeable revenue is not being developed.