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…mayor urges govt to stop playing politics with citizens lives
Georgetown Mayor Ubraj Narine, on Thursday told a delegation of ministers that the city council needs anually some $1.5B to maintain its pumps and drainage canals and he also urged the government to stop playing politics with citizens lives.
Narine also drew comparisons between the Coalition Government and the PPP/C in the way the handled the drainage issues of the city emphasising that he received greater support under the previous administration and that much was done.
Government ministers had been loud in their criticisms of the council over its handling of flash flooding a decades-old problem in the city which was more disastrous under previous PPP/C governments.
In a statement to the media Narine said on Thyrsday he expressed disappointment with recent statements made by Ministers of the Government that the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) seek to sabotage the Government risking the lives and livelihood of the residents of Georgetown.
Mayor Narine indicated that Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall invited him to a meeting that he understood to be a genuine effort to have a collaborative response to the recent flooding in sections of the City. He attended the meeting with Deputy Mayor, Alfred Mentore and the City Engineer. Colvin Venture.
On his arrival, he encountered members of the media in attendance to what he understood to be a private meeting. This action by the minister was unfortunate and apparently designed not in the interest of the city of Georgetown but to ambush the Mayor to seek political capital, Narine said.
“His Worship respectfully informed Minister Dharamlall that he was invited to participate in a thawing of relations as a step to work in the interest of the residents of the city of Georgetown and that he was not interested in political theatrics.
Mayor Narine and the City Engineer updated the Ministers of Government present, Minister of Agriculture Zulfikar Mutsapha, Minister within the Ministry of Local Government Anand Persaud, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works Deodat Indar and Minister Dharamlall on the status of kokers and pumps that are necessary to drain water from the City and the efforts of the Council to maintain the drainage infrastructure,” the statement read.
Narine said he drew the ministers’ attention to the fact that from 2015 to 2019 the APNUAFC Government and the Municipality worked together to ensure the residents and businesses of Georgetown are not significantly affected by flooding during the rainy season.
The Mayor also stated that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure (Ministry of Public Works) cleared the alleyways in the city and the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) provided support to the City drainage and maintenance program.
Mayor Narine implored the Ministers of Government to avoid making the decades-old problem of the flooding of Georgetown into a political one and indicated that he preferred a solution-based approach. He noted that Georgetown lies below sea level and the effects of climate change continue to see above-normal rainfall compromising our archaic infrastructure. The Mayor stressed that only a collaborative approach will ensure that our citizens are safe and damage and inconvenience reduced.
“The M&CC requires over a billion dollars annually to clear and maintain the drainage canals and kokers, and over 500 million dollars to maintain the pumps. The municipality collects just over 700 million dollars annually in taxes of which 264 million dollars are required to dispose of residential and commercial solid waste,” Narine stated.
The Mayor continues to advocate for both Government and Opposition Legislators to work on changing the bylaws to increase revenue collection to enable the Council to fulfil its mandate adequately.
“The Mayor and City Council continues to prepare for the rainy season with emergency allocations and requests for collaboration with all agencies.
The Mayor encourages the Ministers to work together with the Municipal Authority to move Georgetown forward as it plays its role in developing and maintaining the capital city. He stresses that in times of national emergencies we must as patriots co-operate for Guyana and the M&CC stands ready and willing,” the release concluded.