The City can’t be cleaned in a piecemeal manner

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Dear Editor,

I have noted in the media comments and concerns regarding the recent ‘Operation Clean Up” and criticism levelled against the City Council and its management of garbage in the city.

Like many of our citizens, I too must express my concern at what has seemingly become commonplace; littering and dumping in and around the city environs. I am advised that this issue extends beyond the city and into our communities.

I held much of my commentary following the “clean-up” exercise largely to give the benefit of the stakeholders who participated an appreciation of the challenges that the council faces especially in this context; the magnitude of the task and the need for a collaborative approach. It was noted just a few days following the “clean-up” exercise that the efforts were already being undone by some unconscionable persons who seemingly missed the entire publicity event of the “clean-up” exercise and are stuck in their old ways.


The purpose of this missive is to highlight, as I have repeated since my election to the Office of the Mayor of Georgetown in 2018 – a fact that also escapes the memory of some, that the City cannot be cleaned and maintained in a piecemeal fashion if we are serious about restoring our capital to the Garden city.

The Georgetown City council has bemoaned the lack of funding that hamper its work. Despite its limited resources the Solid Waste Department continues to deliver to the best of its abilities. These workers clear empty lots that have become dumpsites and pick up excess garbage around the city without fanfare and media coverage. I am proud of their efforts despite the challenges.

As is customary at media events senior officials of the Central Government who were engaged in the public relations exercise used the opportunity to score political points.

I was surprised by a comment attributed to the Minister of Public Works that the M&CC should be blamed for illegal dumpsites that appeared on social media. According to the DPI report on January 16th 2022, the Honourable Minister stated:

“The volume of garbage that is here speaks to two things. One; the neglect by the Mayor and City Council, first of all to enforce and secondly, remove solid waste from the City”.

I will state clearly the Guyana Power and Light and many Government Ministries owe the City Council millions of dollars in rates and taxes. I will not accept the statements attributed to the Honourable Minister of Public Works Bishop Juan Edghill as either reasonable or correct. The Honourable Minister maybe is unaware of the indebtedness to the Mayor and City Council.

I would hope that the Honourable Minister when afforded the opportunity when presented with the evidence of the efforts by the Government of which he is a part of to stifle the City Council that he corrects himself.

1. The Mayor and City Council has appealed to the Honourable Minister Nigel Dharamlall on numerous occasions to collaborate with the City Council, the most recent being to facilitate garbage compactors for the Kitty, Albouystown and East Ruimveldt Markets to no avail.

The Council contracts waste disposal to private companies which takes up more than half of its revenue. The Council has presented a proposal for the reevaluation of properties to increase its revenue share to better provide the disposal service to the multi-story, high rise buildings which are becoming a regular feature in the changing Georgetown landscape. These structures based on occupancy will create much more solid waste than the City can currently handle.

The Council wrote the President His Excellency Mohamed Irfaan Ali, pleading with him to ensure that the Fiscal Transfers Act is enforced and that the correct allocations are made to the Georgetown City Council.

The Municipality has proposed a Municipal Court to enable its City Constabulary ranks to issue tickets to offenders and use the revenue to assist in securing empty lots which are used as dump sites and to increase its monitoring capacity.

The Municipality has encouraged a collaborative approach which was done from 2015 to 2020 to reduce its cost to maintain drains and provide services to the citizens of Georgetown which has been shunned by this administration.

As I stated earlier, it is possible that the Honourable Minister is unaware of these proposals and the position taken by the Government and as such I will allow him the opportunity to correct himself.

His Worship Pt. Ubraj Narine
Mayor of the City of Georgetown

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