Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
As one who has been involved in the trauma, trials and tribulations of our Capital City the longest, permit me to congratulate the Stabroek News for its erudite and scholarly Editorial of November 24, 2023 titled “ Government and City Hall.”
Citizens and Editor, just some facts to establish beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Georgetown M&CC and therefore the citizens of Georgetown have been the victims of a mindset by the PPP administration, that if they cannot control, they must then destroy.
To support the Editorial, I state the following facts
When the PPP won General Elections in 1992, the City Council was led by Mayor Compton Young, an upright member of the religious community and others of good character, but not considered sycophants of the new Government. The Ministry responsible for Local Government so provoked Mayor Young to the point where he and the Councillors resigned.
This allowed the new Government to hand pick a group led by Dr. James Rose as Chairman with powers of the Mayor and City Council to manage the City, called the Interim Management Committee (IMC). The Government to make the IMC look good poured vast resources to support the IMC in anticipation of Local Government Elections held in 1994.
Those elections saw me and my group including people like Ramesh Kissoon, Robert Williams, Allan Chin, T. Anson Sancho, Shirley Shepperd, Orsoola Parris, Gregory Fraser and others prevail and so I was elected Mayor.
In spite of the assistance from the Central Government when the PPP’s Chairman of the IMC was about to demit office, he said ‘that even if there was optimum collection of rates and taxes and other fees, the money would be insufficient to provide an effective service that citizens of Georgetown deserve.’ Cemetery, five Municipal Markets, Day Care Services, Garbage collection, a Constabulary, Abattoir, Public Health Engineering and other services, and said that the City required an additional source of funding.
On assuming office I took this wisdom into account and proposed to the Government the establishment of a Municipal Lottery. Contact was made with experienced companies abroad and the Late Haslyn Parris was asked to assess and make a public advertisement, but this required the permission of the Central Government. A meeting was arranged with Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, who was at the time carrying out the duties as President. After some deliberation we were informed that the Government could not and would not support a lottery fearing that the religious community would be up-in-arms. Ten months after that Meeting, a lottery was up and running and the proceeds all went to the Central Government.
When an imminent town planner came to Guyana, Professor Atbar Khan, which the Council accepted but required the fiat of the Central Government, all proposals were ignored.
It is unnecessary for me to burden this letter with the many frustrations Georgetown has had over the years, safe to say that you cannot manage a large City like Georgetown without the two ends, Money and Management.
The Ministry of Local Government has even before the establishment of the Commission exercised iron-clad control over senior officers in particular the Town Clerk, who during my tenure was allowed to ignore decisions of the Mayor & Councillors.
But unless the Government has as my friend would say, an attitudinal metamorphosis, the mockery and indecency will continue. Unhappily the victims are the residents of Georgetown.