Has repaired Stabroek Market been handed over?
City Council Round-Up
with Cecil Griffith
July 5, 2004
Up to last week Monday, neither the Town Clerk (TC) nor the Clerk of Markets was in a position to state whether the Stabroek Market had been handed over to the council after millions from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) was spent on rehabilitation works last year.
When asked by the Deputy Mayor Robert Williams, who presided in the absence of Mayor Hamilton Green, the Town Clerk informed the statutory meting that she would have to check. But the Deputy Mayor, who is also chairman of the Finance and Markets Committees was firm in his opinion that no handing over took place.
Mayor Green since last year had been insisting that no officer of the council should receive the keys of the rehabilitated Stabroek Market until the council's engineers carry out a thorough inspection of what was done to the structure and this had to be done to the satisfaction of all concerned.
A local construction company had been given the contract more than one year ago. According to the Deputy Mayor certain parts of the market were still leaking, and the lighting leaves much to be desired.
A rethink is needed
In what appears to be a mad scramble to bring revenue someone has come up with the idea to build new stalls not only over existing ones but over and across the passageways in the Stabroek market.
One such structure has already been completed and is soon to be opened and located along the centre passage of the facility, where the Clerk of Markets office had been located over the years giving a wide view of the stalls.
Another overhead stall is now under construction spanning the second passage starting from Water Street.
Stallholders have complained to this column about this bold-faced attack by the council on the aesthetics of this Georgetown landmark and also the way in which the authorities went about informing the existing stallholders who have been in occupancy for dozens of years on the ground floor.
One small businessman said the Deputy Mayor at a recent meeting had announced that the council was in the process of building a walkway from the clock to attract tourists desirous of viewing the city from the top of the market. "They are inviting people to walk on our heads…in a place with no proper lighting system…", he said.
This is an excellent opportunity for the Heritage Trust to investigate and get involved …let's have some action…
A motion by People National Congress Reform councillor Desmond Moses at last Monday's statutory meeting has placed the Water Street vendors issue right back on the municipal front burner.
The motion which was seconded by councillor Oscar Clarke of the PNCR was unanimously accepted after minor amendments by Good and Green Guyana councillor CML John and the leader of the People's Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) wing on the council Fitzgerald Agard.
It calls for a rethink of the entire issue in which Water Street vendors were promised certain basic facilities to be installed at the property which was to be handed over to them after the Jagdeo government had made a financial offer to the owners for the acquisition of the Water Street property.
The motion further calls for urgent steps to be taken for the installation of needed sanitary facilities "to relieve the suffering of the vendors and their customers."
Councillor Clarke who heads the PNCR's group on the council said the people were suffering and the question now is "what are we going to do about it…"
He said the motion with the support of the entire council…only half of the 30 councillors were present barely making a quorum…would show that they care.
Appearing on the Demico House sponsored "One on One" interview programme on NCN last night councillor Llewellyn John who is chairman of the City Works Committee tiptoed around the question as to why at this late stage the council is now showing some interest in the Water Street vendors.
They were removed from the pavements for more than a year and are now the subjects of an injunction which was brought by the owners of the property, Toolsie Persaud Ltd.
The company had rejected the sum of money offered by the Jagdeo government for the purchase of the land.
Since then the council had been silent on the issue despite complaints about the unsatisfactory conditions brought about by the court order.
All works had to be stopped. This column understands that for there to be any forward movement, the council would have to approach the Chancellor of the Judiciary or the Chief Justice to get things sorted out.
Unanswered questions from last week…Will the TC and the City Engineer be making an appearance before the Carter Commission this week…?
Now that the Mayor is back in town will he be appearing to give evidence? He should have a lot to say.
Has the Liburd report been found and why is the council continuing to hold on to the Kitty market?
As PNC councillor Junior Garrett suggested…"hand it over to the National Trust."
The market is a millstone around the necks of citizens and the council should stop pussyfooting.