Ariantze complains about wholesale distributor City Council Round-Up
By Cecil Griffith
Stabroek News
December 4, 2006

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The Georgetown City Council is to seek clarification on what constitutes a dry goods store.

This decision was taken at last Monday's statutory meeting when a letter from Mrs. Catherine Hughes, director of Hotel Ariantze and Sidewalk Café was considered. According to the letter, the Imez company which is situated to the east of the hotel and café, on Middle Street has been accused of operating a wholesale distribution business which sells potatoes, onions and garlic.

The hotel director noted in her letter that the Ariantze hotel is among other hotels, selected to provide lodging for Cricket World Cup 2007.

The point was made in the letter that the movement of trucks and containers throughout the day has resulted in roads being destroyed, traffic congestion, inadequate parking for patrons of the hotel and café.

"To complement the inconvenience..." the letter continued... "is the obnoxious smell of rotting onions, garlic and potatoes‚€¦"

Mrs. Hughes explained that the situation has worsened to the extent where guests and customers are forced to endure the smells emanating from the business or seek alternative accommodation.

The letter said attempts over the past two years to engage the mayor and city council and the Environ- mental Protection Agency have proven futile.

Also at Monday's meeting a letter dated October 18, 2006 authored by Senior Counsel Rex McKay on behalf of the proprietors of the business place surfaced. It referred to a visit to the premises of the wholesaler by the mayor and a directive from him that the business be closed.

Mr. McKay warned that a threat of this nature could not be consistent with good and lawful public administration and he has asked for its withdrawal.

The point was made that should there be any future legal proceedings; the letter will be shown to the court.

At the meeting Mayor Green asked the city treasurer to ascertain whether the owners of the wholesale business are paying taxes for a dwelling house or a business.

The Council vs GWI

If and when the stand-off between the council and the Guyana Power and Light Company ends, citizens may be faced with yet another inconvenience‚€¦problems with the services provided by the Guyana Water Incor-porated (GWI) to the municipality.

At the statutory meeting the newly appointed Medical Officer Dr. Davis gave a short report on a meeting which he had with a senior officer of the Water and Sewerage Company over a complaint that the company was dumping effluent into the city's drainage system.

This charge has been spearheaded by councillor Edwin Bispat during previous meetings of the council presided over by Mayor Green.

After the MOH's presentation the 'chief citizen' directed that Dr. Davis and the acting city engineer Lloyd Alleyne submit a report to the council on whether there is sufficient evidence for the council to support such a charge and do something about it.

Councillor Bispat had presented the council with photographs to support his claims that sludge was being dumped into the city's drains and canals by GWI with dangerous consequences to the health of citizens.

The Water and Sewerage Company has consistently denied the charges.

Mayor Green sits on the GWI board.

Self delusion

This column has been noting that whenever the council makes claims about its achievements dealing with the provision of services to citizens the efficient removal of garbage is usually singled out.

But the council's public relations department should be made aware once and for all that the council has nothing to crow about, since its success in the main is due entirely to the businesslike approach adopted by the two private contractors involved in garbage collection. It is free enterprise at work proving that other departments such as the markets, the mortuary and constabulary should go the same way.

Over the years they have had to endure instances of the non-fulfilment of their contracts with city hall to pay them on time.

The situation seems to have improved. Whether this service would be the next to suffer because of the lack of funds in the municipal treasury is anybody's guess with everyone failing to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

With the senior staff of the municipal administration still to be paid for last month it is obvious that they would be first in line at the pay table following their lightning strike at the weekend.

It is worth nothing that at last Monday's statutory meeting‚€¦ at least six of the department heads were absent either on annual or sick leave. They were the town clerk, the city treasurer, the clerk of markets, the public relations officer the personnel officer and the city engineer.