City Council Round-Up
New plan to develop Stabroek Market area
By Cecil Griffith
July 12, 2004
Yet another plan to alleviate the gridlock and lawlessness in Georgetown, the Guyana capital, has surfaced.
This time it's a development scheme for the Stabroek Market area.
These new proposals have been put together by Mr Mukul Gupta, a Town Planning expert with support from a government team and follows on the heels of the Urban Development Plan which was drafted by another Indian Town Planning expert, Professor Akhtar Khan, some three years ago and funded by the Inter-American Develop-ment Bank.
The Khan document was placed before a special meeting of the council and accepted with praise from city 'fathers' and 'mothers'. Nothing else has happened. The Gupta plan includes measures to restore the Stabroek area east of the market as a culture square, short term paid public parking and utilising "donkey city" or Stelling View as a terminal for public transportation services.
Special attention is to be paid to traffic flows along Water and Croal streets and the relevant authorities "will take necessary measures eventually to discontinue the operations of the Guyana Fire Service and the Ministry of Human Services in their present locations. Alternative suitable sites are to be identified by the Central Housing and Planning Authority.
It would be interesting to know how these foreign experts are recruited.
What is also worthy of note is that as soon as these experts are identified by the international agencies local consultants suddenly spring up as their networking comes alive. The criteria for their recruitment are never made public.
Stabroek Market gets attention
The recent revelations in this newspaper about the construction of high-rise stalls in the Stabroek Market have resulted in enquiries from the Consumers Association and citizens, all asking "what's going on?"
Information reaching this column indicates that the National Trust and the Guyana Association of Professional Engineers have expressed concerns over the reconfiguration of the Stabroek Market's interior.
Some stallholders in this market who prefer to be nameless told this column that there is no representative body that speaks for them and although there have been attempts to set up such a group over the years nothing positive has happened.
Advice given by a reputable and experienced Guyanese civil engineer to this column is that before any additions on the existing market are carried out a proper soil test of the foundation is required.
This is necessary because the structure is old and is sited close to the Demerara River.
With this mad rush by the city council to garner much needed revenue city hall may find itself being "…penny wise and pound foolish…."
The missing Liburd report
A copy of the Liburd report which could not be found despite requests last month by the sole commissioner inquiring into the City Engineer's Department Mr Bernard Carter, is now available. Approaches by Mr Carter to the Town Clerk Beulah Williams for the Liburd report which was prepared in 1995 and presented to the council the same year were unsuccessful.
The late Mr Charles Liburd A.A., a Guyanese civil engineer and former diplomat was appointed the sole commissioner to investigate the construction of a building on Croal Street after complaints from the owner of another building nearby.
Specific attention was paid by Mr Liburd in his project to the role of the City Engineer's Department and the involvement of the City Engineer Cephas James and several building inspectors in the employ of the city council.
Also coming under scrutiny was the relationship between the city council and the Central Housing and Planning Authority. The Town Clerk at the time was Mr Prince Melville who along with the City Engineer appeared before Mr Liburd.
It was nice to see in one of the local newspapers Mayor Hamilton Green posing with a bevy of city 'mothers' during their recent visit to the United States. The three female councillors are members of the Good and Green Guyana and the Peoples National Cong-ress Reform.
No one represented the People's Progres-sive Party/Civic. Was this party invited to go on the US trip with expenses paid by the taxpayers or the three city 'mothers' paid their own way and were on holiday? It is time that the Deputy Mayor Robert Williams be given time off to enjoy a holiday, if not abroad at home, from his additional duties of presiding at meetings in the absence of the 'chief citizen'.