With 65 days to go…
Mayor Green says G/town will be ready for CWC
• removing mentally ill from streets remains big challenge

Kaieteur News
January 5, 2007

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With just over two months to go before Cricket World Cup comes to Guyana , Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green is optimistic that the capital city will be ready for what is touted to be the biggest event in the country's history.

“We will be ready for Cricket World Cup. All indications are that we will come good, and that all agencies are working towards this objective,” Green said in a brief interview yesterday.

“It's a big challenge for the city and the country.”

Asked about the consequences of failing to be ready for CWC, Green stressed it would be “a national embarrassment”, but prefers to think positively. “I don't think that will happen. Our people are famous for coming good at the right time.”

According to Green, one of the biggest challenges Government and City Hall faces in sprucing up the city is removing the destitute and the mentally ill from the streets in time.

Green explained that the destitute frustrate the efforts of the city's garbage collectors, since they dump refuse onto clean streets when rummaging in bins.

The Government has indicated that a multi-million-dollar structure will be constructed to house the mentally ill and others roaming the streets.

And Mayor Green also hopes that the weather will be kind to those preparing for the mega-event. “A month-and-a-half of hard rain would set us back,” he admitted.

But, according to Green, the country has faced such a challenge before when Guyana successfully hosted the first Caribbean Festival of Arts (Carifesta) back in 1972.

“I remember Carifesta '72, and people thought that we couldn't do it. We had Bonny Fernandes, who was fully in charge of relocating people and finishing Festival City (where visitors were housed).”

As the then Minister of Works, Green, too, played a major role in the Carifesta preparations.

With piles of garbage, potholed roads, derelict buildings, overgrown parapets, and mentally ill persons roaming the streets, Georgetown has long lost its reputation of being a Garden City.

A strike by City Council employees, late in December 2006, over wages did little to improve City Hall's image as an entity that could get things done.

• However, City Hall employees have already begun dismantling derelict buildings, while several roads and alleyways have also been repaired.