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Subsequent to my letter to the Mayor and all Councillors, I still await a formal reply.
During the intervening period, I met with a small delegation of Councillors.
During our cordial conversation the delegation offered factors to mitigate what I earlier described as a serious misstep by making available apportion of Merriman’s Mall for parking by a private developer.
During the conversation, it was posited that even if similar missteps were made previously, that is not a good reason to continue making the same mistakes.
I send this note hoping to reach Councillors today during your Statutory Meeting.
It is prompted by information I received on Saturday after leaving the radio/television programme ‘Voice of the People,’ that Council is considering “SIC,” disposing of prime property in Water Street.
The location was earlier known as the Stone Depot and later used as the City Constabulary Training School.
This prime property to the east, lets you unto perhaps the most busy commercial area in the City, Upper Water Street and to the west, a priceless river frontage, less than a mile from the mouth of the Demerara River, with the potential for deep harbour.
Allow me for the moment to state as follows:-
- As Mayor, I was approached on several occasions
- to dispose of this property. After appropriate consultation this was rejected.
- That if you dispose of this property, where
- would we find the space and ambience to train recruits, do research and store valuable documents.
- Every civilized society has a sense of
- history supported by ancestral piety that disallows us capriously of disposing what we inherited. This coupled with admittedly previous missteps is unforgivable.
In my letter earlier, I referred to the well-known story of Esau and Jacob.
Georgetown was developed by the Dutch and known as Stabroek.
The area in question got its name of Water Street because it was always under water and unfit for human habitation.
Gangs of slaves working long hours, and with their sweat, blood and tears dug with crude tools, two canals running from east to west, which helped to civilize what we now know as our Capital City Georgetown.
It will be an insult to the memory of those identity martyrs, who for hundreds of years were slaves.
We Manumitted Africans and Immigrants, would have all inherited their suffering and whether we are descendants of those slaves or indentured labourers, we ought not to ignore the significance of our history.
Finally, for the time being, we have seen this subtle take-over in some European, Asian, African and North American cities where people with charm and dollars buy over old areas and at the end of the day the original occupants can find no place.
Concerted efforts over the past several years have been put in place to arrest this “development” and gentrification is still considered a serious societal problem.
I hope that my information is incorrect and I close with the opening sentence of that fascinating work contained in the Book titled ‘A March of Folly’ by Barbara Touchman
“ A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests.”