– Mayor says
BARTICA Mayor, Gifford Marshall, says issues with stray animals in the township is rising to crisis level and is threatening the sustenance and development of its beautification and advancement as a tourism destination.
Speaking with Guyana Chronicle on Monday, Marshall stated that the animals are destroying the municipal’s property, leaving unsightly droppings everywhere, destroying the produce of cash crop farmers, and causing traffic hazards.
“We definitely have a severe problem. You would be surprised to see what these animals are doing,” the mayor said.
“At the sports centre, we spent some money over the last two years to renovate that place and the animals are destroying it. They’re destroying the playfields, creating holes with their hooves. Only Friday last we would’ve commissioned a peace sign, sending a nice message and this morning we realized that too was tampered with by stray animals. So, it’s a crisis on our hands,” he told this publication.
Mayor Marshall said the situation is threatening to undo the reputation that the township has been nurturing as a tourism destination over the past few years.
“Bartica is a tourism hub, and it breaks our hearts to bring tourists here and they see the animal faeces all over the place. You go to the board walk and see cow droppings along there. It’s embarrassing,” he said.
He added: “Over the past few months, we would have seen several of our bins being destroyed by these stray animals. In addition to that, we are working on the township’s beautification plan whereby we plant trees and flowering plants at strategic locations and that too is being destroyed by the animals.”
The animals being on the roadway has also contributed to a number of vehicular accidents.
“These animals are traffic hazards because vehicles are hitting them. We have a number of accidents that would’ve occurred as a result of stray animals on the road,” he shared.
Several farmers also recently complained to the municipality about the stray animals affecting their livelihood.
“Persons came to me who are planting farms, and said they came to Bartica to work and when they go back in [to their farms], cow destroyed their produce. These are average, poor families, so this is something that definitely needs to be addressed,” the mayor explained.
He said while the municipality does have several pounds at its disposal and the necessary resources to keep the animals impounded, the township is trying to first reason with the owners of the animals to address the situation.
The municipality met with several cattle farmers to discuss the issue and find common grounds. The owners of the animals, however, are complaining of not having ample grazing grounds for their animals.
“When we met with the cattle owners a few months ago, we pleaded with them to have an understanding and to remove the animals off the streets and keep them out of central Bartica. They are saying they have to live, but I keep saying to them that [they] don’t have to live at the expense of others, or the expense of the municipalities or at the expense of other farmers.
We must create a balance because those who are farming we must respect them. The bins that are there for solid waste management, we can’t continue to destroy our bins and then have to go back to the government for more. That’s unacceptable,” Marshall stated.
He said too that the municipality is trying as much as possible to avoid having to impound the animals as the owners will then also incur an additional cost to retrieve their animals, which will place a strain on themselves.
“We have a number of facilities that we could use to impound the animals so, if need be, we have areas that we can impound the animals and take care of them. But we do not want to go down that road. We want to work with the cattle owners to bring about an amicable resolution to the issues that we are facing,” he said,
He added: “If they do not cooperate then we would definitely have to go ahead and impound the animals, but it would be thousands of dollars they would have to pay to get back their animals. But we understand that it is not always that persons will have that kind of money. That is why we are trying to work with them to see how best we can have the cooperation between the municipality and the cattle owners.”