‘We will make the city better’
Mayor of Georgetown Patricia Chase-Green at the centre of the APNU contingent that created quite a buzz on Woolford Avenue on Friday ahead of submitting its List of Candidates for the 2018 Local Government Elections.
Mayor of Georgetown Patricia Chase-Green at the centre of the APNU contingent that created quite a buzz on Woolford Avenue on Friday ahead of submitting its List of Candidates for the 2018 Local Government Elections.

…major parties promise better management, transparency at City Hall

PROMISES of better management and a greater push to improve infrastructure in the municipalities and Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) were the main themes as supporters of the A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), and the Alliance For Change (AFC) submitted their lists of candidates for Local Government Elections.

The PPP Members submitting their List of Candidates to the GECOM staff at Critchlow Labour College Photos by Delano Williams

The parties presented their lists at the Critchlow Labour College, Woolford Avenue Georgetown. But the smaller political parties, voluntary groups and individual candidates said the people are tired of the empty rhetoric and it is time to give them a chance.

Deputy Mayor of Georgetown, Akeem Peter, and a member of the APNU contingent, was the first to admit on Friday that some residents were dissatisfied with performance of the City Council. “We must apologise for not reaching the expectations of people but we must say also is that we reached something that was there for over two decades, and in it is quite unfair to fix it in two years,” the deputy mayor told reporters.

He said once re-elected APNU will continue to fix the plethora of problems facing not only the municipality of Georgetown but other Local Authority Areas (LAAs). “APNU is part of the coalition that brought Local Democracy back to the citizens after 23 years, so it is our responsibility to deliver to the citizens and deliver that good life they all seek and ask for. Notwithstanding that we have our challenges at the level of the Mayor and City Council those challenges are being worked on,” he emphasised.

Independent Candidate Michael Okombo Williams

While not discrediting the current APNU councillors for the perceived poor performance, Peter said the five-party coalition, which forms a major part of government, has put forward a list of primarily new and young candidates. “Young people came up to represent their consistencies, and the party believes in young people and the party believes in youth, and the party decided to give the young persons an opportunity to lead those constituencies along with the persons serving there before because we understand experience is important,” Peter explained.

APNU Executive Member and Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence said Local Government creates a space for persons at the local level to take charge of their communities. She noted that APNU would be pushing for healthier, safer, stronger and cohesive communities.
Michael Leonard, AFC Region Four Chairman, told reporters that the party would do more than cleaning drains. “We are being very strategic, we are not looking for theatrics, we want to ensure that we communicate to persons our core values and principles– transparency and accountability. So we will be going to the citizens as well and ensuring that we get them to give us some input, let us know what they want us to do when we get there because councils and NDCs are more than just cleaning drains and we want to move pass that,” he explained.

Independent Candidate James Hermanstein

Bishram Kuppen, a sitting councilor at the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, representing the PPP said that party will ensure there is accountability, transparency and good governance once re-elected. “I have moved two motions for forensic audits, even before we sat on the council in 2016, I had asked for forensic audits. When I presented that motion to the council, it was trashed by the town clerk. I also asked for financial details on all these expenditures – hundreds of millions are being spent with no clear accounting. Each year, the auditor general is required by the Municipal and District Act to perform audits of the council’s books and they have been unable to successfully complete any audit because there are always missing records,” Kuppen complained.


No to parking meters
On the issues of the parking meter, the PPP councillor said it remains a ‘NO’ for the party, although recognising the need for an effective parking system to be put in place. “We will support an intelligent system to control traffic. But I will give you an example, when the new administration came into office, they had one tow truck for the parallel parking, and the entire Robb Street and Regent streets were cleared, so you didn’t have to have parking meter if you are controlling traffic,” Kuppen said.

URP Representative Marcia Lewis, second left, surrounded by supporters of the party

United Republican Party (URP) Representative, Marcia Lewis said after assessing the performances of the municipalities across the country, particularly in the Municipality of Georgetown, the party was unimpressed with the progress of development, and as such, opted to contest in the upcoming Local Government Elections.

According to her, the URP will be tackling the real issues facing communities. “We will be addressing the very real problem of unemployment, the very real problem of the drainage and garbage pile ups in the city, the de-bushing of the burial ground,” she explained.
URP will be contesting in six municipalities and 24 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs).

While the spotlight was placed on the major political parties, Independent Candidate Michael Okombo Williams told the Guyana Chronicle that he was unbothered by the theatrics. According to him, little was done for Constituency Four in the Municipality of Georgetown though there were many promises. “There were many expectations but there have not been many fulfilments. So I thought it best, in the interest of my consistency, and in the interest of the residents there, to go independently,” Williams said.

APNU Executive and Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence leading the APNU delegation to Critchlow Labour College for the submission of their List of Candidates

According to him, if elected to serve on the council, he will work to address the issues facing his consistency. “Drainage, sanitation and security, those three of our primary concerns not forgetting pest control measures. So my intent is to focus heavily, should I be elected, on those issues,” the independent candidate said.

Sixty-seven-year-old James Hermanstein, who is contesting in Constituency Five – Block X Liliendaal, said he was encouraged to contest the elections by residents within his constituency on the basis that he has been spearheading development projects in that area. “Recently, we built a bridge – 35ft by 4ft concrete walkway bridge. Previously there was a makeshift bridge where people fell into the canal. Plus we got the main drain canal desilted twice through the effort of a group we formed,” he pointed out. Hermanstein noted that the projects were carried out with funds raised by the local group. Once elected, Hermanstein said he would be able to develop much more for the people of Block X Liliendaal, which covers ‘A’ Field Sophia, Pattensen and Plum Park. Local Government Elections will be held on November 12, 2018.


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