How can G$56M restore Georgetown? asks Mayor Hamilton Green

How can G$56M restore Georgetown? asks Mayor Hamilton Green

Mayor Hamilton Greene

Mayor Hamilton Greene

December 29, 2013 · Stabroek News – Letters 

Dear Editor,

The statements made by ministers and the General Secretary of the PPP in relation to the Georgetown City Council are clearly unworthy of these high offices. The latest salvo is from Mr Clement Rohee who blames the state of the cemetery on the Mayor.

I have earlier dealt with these completely dishonest statements by the ruling elite, blaming the Mayor and City Councillors for the ills of Georgetown, knowing full well that the three vital ingredients needed for the success of any venture or institution such as a city, are money, manpower and management. None are available to the elected Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown – compliments of the government.  

The government has suffocated the city in all of these areas. The recent act of an imposed Town Clerk has taken management of the city to the lowest level ever. Mr Rohee must know that the city continues to be de facto managed by the Minister and his appointed head of our administration.

Recall that in August, the National Assembly approved a motion for the Restoration of Georgetown. After months, it is now crystal clear that the government has no interest in making a reality of this democratic decision of the National Assembly and continues the sad and sorry state of stultifying the city. Perhaps, they are hoping to improve their political fortunes beyond the 27% of votes they obtained when voters had the opportunity to elect councillors, or perhaps, it is the diabolical mind of the PPP administration of punishing a city because it did not support them. What a pity.

The city is in deep crisis, it faces a health hazard. Yes, it is a PPP Government Minister who said he would welcome a health crisis in Georgetown.

The public must not be fooled by the PPP statements and figures such as the recent one about  government  giving a sum of $56M for the ‘Restoration of Georgetown.’ This is an affront to the Mayor and City Council and citizens.

How can $56M restore Georgetown? Or was it intended as a joke for Xmas? I will offer a few facts to show how much of an insult to our intelligence it is.

The Georgetown municipality caters, as they say, for us from the ‘cradle to the grave’ – day care to burial facilities – by way of example: ( Note: G$1M = app $US$5,000)

To rehabilitate our maternal and child welfare (public health facilities) – $100M (This excludes training, mobility and public education.)
To desilt the Sussex Street Canal and do minimum revetment works – $40M
To desilt the Cane View Avenue Canal – $30M
To desilt the Downer Canal – $35M
To rehabilitate the Cemetery a minimum of – $130M

This excludes lighting, the replanting of trees and repairing of tombs – these are only a portion of things to be done if we are to restore the city.

I have not mentioned roads, parapets, constabulary training complex, our five municipal markets, bridges, sluices, not to mention City Hall itself. $56M is a drop in the ocean.

What about a modern abattoir; a retrained and larger constabulary and building inspectorate; a well-staffed public relations department; additional garbage trucks, et al; a modern workshop; competent and qualified staff, not the imposition of incompetent and unqualified staff.

The restoration of our capital city requires a revised plan; the one prepared in 2001, even though approved by the cabinet has been ignored. The report is gathering dust in the Minister’s office.

From the time the PPP lost local government elections in the city, they have frustrated every effort, and I repeat, every effort, made by the incumbent mayoralty to mobilize the money and management capacity to restore Georgetown. Imposing its will as we have seen recently, to go so far as to appoint unqualified persons to manage, or should I say, mismanage the city. Except for the late Prince Melville as Town Clerk, all officers seem afraid of the PPP ministers.

How ridiculous therefore is the statement by the PPP operatives blaming the Mayor.

Let the President assent to the other local government bill to complete local government reform. Let us have local government elections early in the year. Let us dispense with the Ministry of Local Government, which in a functional democracy and a credible modern local government system is an unnecessary imposition on taxpayers consuming millions every day, what with two ministers, two highly paid advisors ‒ both former ministers ‒ with ministerial pay and perks, and a plethora of so called experts. It is the same government, to quote the words from the Stabroek News editorial of Monday, December 23, that noted that over the last decade, in particular, “the PPP/C has traded unrelentingly and unjustifiably honest democracy credentials.” Even when at their instance a development plan for Georgetown 2001-2010 was finalized and approved by cabinet, the government did not proceed with its implementation.

The people of Georgetown deserve better and must demand more of the state.  I close by making this boast: if given a reasonably free hand and resources, Georgetown would have by now been a true garden city and the pride of Guyanese everywhere and the beacon of this region.

Among others, there are two things this administration seems not to realize. First, in so far as the PPP/C treatment of the capital is concerned, as I move around the city talking to residents even in the midst of their woes of mosquitoes, garbage and flooding, they all state it is the fault or misdeeds of the government. In other words, the PPP is not fooling the people.

Second, when a Minister can state that they are allocating $56M for the restoration of the city, the average citizen feel insulted, more so, when they are reminded that it is the kind of money this government has expended for a pump Station at Stanleytown, but only a fraction of the excess of US$320M, they set out to pay for the Amaila Falls Project; the billions paid to the NGPC up front for drugs; the NICIL sweet deals – in the midst of all this they offer a measly sum for the rehabilitation of Georgetown. In any case, with the appointed Town Clerk we are certain that the money will be expended by the Minister and his Town Clerk. History will be a harsh judge.

But the worse situation created is the damage being done to this nation; qualifications, competence, decency, morality, as the old folks say, now “pass for grass.”  This is unforgiveable.

We now hear that the government will clean up the city. This of course is always helpful; however, this is no more than a band aid on a festering sore. The government must instruct the Town Clerk to carry out the decisions of the Mayor and Councillors and re-engage the two solid waste contractors she dismissed in defiance of council’s recommendation.

There is a new garbage pile-up at the corner of Church and Waterloo Streets and the empty lot to the south and another heap nearby. All these may be removed in the so-called government clean-up. But unless there is a holistic approach and a sustained programme after a few hours or days the city will again be littered.

Yours faithfully, 
Hamilton Green

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  • de castro  On December 30, 2013 at 3:26 am

    Your excellency lord mayor….
    May I humbly suggest you spend the 56m GUYD on your next visit
    to the gentlemans……or spend it on the infrastructure of a new city
    somewhere between GT and LINDEN on higher ground near demerara
    river…..GT can then become the VENICE of latinoland…most romantic
    City of our planet…
    Seriously….Guyana will need a new city “not unlike BRAZILLIA”
    sometime in the future… is the time to begin its creation…
    offer companies incentives to build their factories in industrial estates
    in/near new city and am sure they will move their production/marketing/distribution facilities on “leased land”
    government owns along the way…..on either side of any future
    motorway GT to LINDEN….this is not rocket science …just simple
    commonsense approach to 50+ year “stagnation” of thinking.

    Central government will own the lands
    Local government will be “lease-holder” of lands….use or loose policy.
    With taxes collected used to improve the services of the new city…..
    A dream that is possible….please make it reality.


  • Alex V, Benn  On December 30, 2013 at 7:59 am

    I wish that the local residents would unite and protest about the condition of the city which leaves them prone to pollution and airborne diseases.
    Also the ex-patriots who visit should boycott Guyana until there is improvement.

    I have visited several Caribbean islands and never saw the mess I have been seeing on videos from Guyana. I remember on one of the visits the tour guide showed us some of the government buildings and explained that they are repainted every three years as part of maintenance.

    A certain government visited the U.S. a few months ago and boasted about all the positive things being done in Guyana–all the building done there.
    What’s the use of putting up 5 star hotels when there is trash down the street, when there are no proper drainage systems, no adequate sanitation programs? Imagine having an ocean view accommodation to look out the window to see sewage being emptied into the ocean.
    The residents certainly are responsible for keeping there environment clean but you have to set the standards and most of them follow.

    I remember visiting Georgetown as a child walking down tree lined streets, visiting the Botanical gardens and the Girl Guides Headquarters. That was when the British ruled. You should see the ugly comments the Canadians and the English make about Mackenzie then and now.
    Now I hate to say there is nothing but regression.

  • Cliff Thomas  On December 30, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    It is high time that Mayor Green resign. I have been saying this all along. He has not searved this country well even when he was in the PNC Govt. He is drawing a salary by false pretense. Mr Green please resign; you are humbugging a young man for the post- a Mr King who is PRO for the City Council. The City is in a stinking mess and you are the cause.

  • Malcolm Heydorn  On December 31, 2013 at 4:24 am

    The state of politics in this country is of such a nature, that the right hand does not know, or care to know what the left hand is doing. It is now two years since I sent three e mails directly to appropriate authorities in Guyana, requesting copies of my parents’, and grandparents’ birth certificates, and to this day, my request was not even acknowledged.
    Is there anyone, but anyone who has a moving body in that office? How can there be progress in this country, when those in positions of responsibility, are in a state of rigormortis.

  • Thinker  On December 31, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    They simply have no records or not enough people to look up stuff. Years ago I asked for a statement of previous employment with government and got no reply. A phone call and the dispatch of a small money order to the Ministry didnt help.

  • gigi  On January 2, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Well, it is easier to steal when dealing with large sums of money than with small sums. And we all know how thieving these folks are. So $56M is what you will have to contend with. Now, if you’re that concerned with Guyana’s/GT future and well being, do us all a favor and step down so that progress can take place. You’ve been a blight and a rope around this country’s neck for waaaaay toooooo long!

    To Alex V, Benn: I hear you.

  • Alex V, Benn  On January 5, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Alex V. Benn– December 30,2013
    Correction: paragraph 3, line 1. The head government official visited…..

    Also, to Mr. Cliff Thomas, I second your recommendation. I never knew that once a Mayor is sworn in it becomes a permanent position. How many times has this mayor been elected? (for the record) Does he have to die first?

  • Restorer  On January 7, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Being unkind to the mayor will certainly not help. A few days ago on a journey to Region six, I was appalled at the stinking mess along the East Coast, West Coast and New Amsterdam and its environs. this is a national crisis, that requires a response from the father of the nation. Mr. President, please call a national clean up day. Send out the police and army to ensure that all public spaces are cleaned up as well as all yards and parapets. Citizens should be prohibited from getting vagrants/junkies to clean up , because they dump the garbage in trenches and on parapets. Let’s also give incentives to well kept communities. We are moving towards improving our tourism product. Please do something on a national scale.

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