Waking up to reality
Guyana Chronicle
July 6, 2004

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CITY Hall has sounded alarm bells over the dirty state of some parts of Georgetown that its officials have uncovered.

And as part of a new campaign, it has announced that city officers will from today check Kitty/Campbellville for dirty yards, lack of garbage bins and other `unhealthy practices’.

That’s all fine and dandy.

But citizens who have for years bemoaned the deplorable state the city has sunk to are probably wondering what took the folks in City Hall so long to uncover the stench, mounting garbage heaps and other `sanitary’ breaches.

According to the Mayor and City Council, concern was triggered after recent “routine” inspections by officials of the Public Health Department of two communities – Laing Avenue and Alberttown.

“Inspections of the locations revealed some of the most deplorable conditions under which children and adults live”, the council said.

It said that in Laing Avenue, several broken water mains were discovered, strapped with old tyre tubes and pieces of cloth, lying in drains filled with human excreta and other debris.

“Of more serious concern is the utilisation of one septic tank by as many as five residents in Laing Avenue”, the council said.

It said this “unhealthy practice” has caused a serious overflow of faeces and toilet tissue, posing a serious health hazard to children and adults.

In the Alberttown area, one particular home had a huge pile of garbage reaching about 10 feet high from ground level, City Hall said.

The question many would be pondering is why weren’t these “deplorable conditions” uncovered in previous “routine inspections”?

If the inspectors were vigilant, they would surely have spotted the health hazards long before the garbage heap, for example, grew to about 10 feet high.

These conditions did not spring up overnight and City Hall has to shoulder most of the blame for allowing deviants to have had their way for so long.

As a letter writer noted last week, Georgetown has deteriorated so badly that it is now categorised by many tourists as one of the worst cities they have visited.

The letter writer suggested that the Mayor and City Council declare a moratorium on rates and taxes for a period at its discretion provided that those who take advantage of the offer, clean their drains and parapets, maintain their yards and fences and paint their houses or businesses.

We do not know how feasible such a suggestion is, but City Hall needs the full cooperation of citizens in any drive to restore Georgetown to its `Garden City’ status, and incentives could do much to get them on board.

There have been several campaigns before to clean up Georgetown but the impact did not last long and the city is sinking more each day.

It is, however, not too late to turn the tide and City Hall has to try to get all stakeholders on board in a concerted drive to restore Georgetown.

And while they are about it, can’t they find the time and the means to mend all those potholes on city streets before they grow into the huge craters that several years ago were nightmares for taxi and other drivers?