Counselling the M&CC

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Dear Editor,

Pat Dial’s Column “Consumer Concerns” in Guyana Chronicle Sunday April 24 raises the important issue of the restructuring of the management of the Mayor & City Council. Most citizens will heartily agree. The current organisational structure belonged to a more cultivated era when well respected citizens like Rahman Gajraj, C.V. Wight were the Mayors. Later followed the politicians like Forbes Burnham, and even more currently Hamilton Green.

Possibly it was around the time of the latter’s regime that the very comprehensive Keith Burrowes Report was submitted for examination and action, following a Commission’s extensive discourse involving a wide range of citizens and agencies. The Report contained some very pertinent and constructive recommendations for restructuring the management of the Council. A copy was given by the writer to the current Deputy Mayor some time ago.

Further, extracts of the Report were included in a submission to the more recent investigation into the Council’s operations by the late Cecil Kennard. The latter’s Report seems also to have been ignored, even by the administration who sponsored it.

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But it is not enough to let ‘bygones be bygones’. The Capital is now caught in the midst of a range and variety of developmental projects by new and creative agencies that now outweigh the span of authority and capabilities of a discouragingly outdated political management structure.

Interestingly, the Council operates within the authority of the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Administration, who oversees a combination of ten administrations managed by appointed Regional Executive Officers whose portfolios are more wide-ranging than some (elevated) Ministries – spanning Agriculture, Health, Works, Education, Administration and Finance.

While the qualifications/experience of these political appointees are never published, there are at the same time, no available commentaries on performance, nor indeed news of terminations, contracted as all the incumbents are.

Intricated in the above processes is the possibility of exploring a new management construct for the Mayor& City Council of Georgetown (Incidentally one hears nothing about counterpart New Amsterdam presumably still of a comparable management structure – in Region 6).

It has become urgently necessary to coordinate a team of interested parties – business, legal, health, works, management professionals, other related technically qualified personnel, and of course civic representations, to review the relevance of the current city management structure.

One recognises that such a structural upheaval would have to be preceded by a very sensitive investigation into how such a fundamental transitional arrangement could be effected, for obviously such a change would not be acceptable to egos who continually refuse to acknowledge performance deficiencies that could be of little benefit to the future management of a capital of substantively demanding management and operational needs.

From this perspective what is to be agreed is the establishment of a City Manager, supported by relevantly technically qualified professionals – a structure that assures more easily verifiable accountability relationships.

Regards
E.B. John



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