GEORGETOWN’S biggest eye-sore happens to be no other than the City Hall building itself. Recently, the Guyana Fire Service conducted a survey on the City Hall Building and this resulted in its condemnation, deemed to be a public hazard, as per their inspection report. The Mayor, His Lordship Ubraj Narine, himself had confirmed that the building was even condemned since in 2016 as they continued to occupy it. Some well-known personalities who served as mayor for the City of Georgetown include, LFS Burnham, Claude Merriman, John Ford, Patricia-Chase Green and Hamilton Green. Notably, the Georgetown Mayor and City Council has always remained under the dominance of a PNC-controlled body and by extension, one of its surrogates. Aligned in the jurisdiction of Region Four, this region is predominantly influenced by a PNC affluence and has always been one of the strong arms of the party with their supporters residing in the vicinity.
Plagued with a history of corruption, scandals, collusions, financial misappropriations, fraud, money squandering, bankruptcy, payment delays to contractors, court proceedings, poor management, mal practices, neglect, un-audited reports, bullish and dictatorial attitudes, an unhealthy public relationship, and non-co-operation with PPP/C administration, this consistency has resulted in a “Garden City” being run down to a “Garbage City.” The building itself is in such a poor state, its shabby appearance makes the small man’s hut looks like a castle in comparison to this disdainful and despicable sight. But then again, the people in charge of the City and its administration are progeny of a PNC elite group who are pronged for a type of organisation who can break only, rather than make reputation.
They have skillfully established a blatant track record for the reverse Midas Touch. Anything they put their hands on turn to not gold but old. They seem to lack any concept of planning for the future and remain visionless. Trust them to squander every penny they inherited and then turn around and beg or borrow, as evident by the many years the PNC has been in power ruling the nation and ruining the country to economic disaster. The M & CC has always been in need of a bail-out situation.
It is unimaginable how all the revenues collected cannot suffice for the running of the City’s administration. So often, eyebrows are raised when the question of finance arises, giving way to seeded speculations as a result of gross inefficiency and defective controlled mechanism.
Too much of a relaxed and laid-back attitude, incorporating the “bullish standoffishness” from management and the politically secured barrier barricading legitimate reproach from exterior sources, contribute to the M&CC remaining as an impregnable fort. This laxity was not only condoned by previous mayors but more so, encouraged by the previous PNC government. All of the City’s mayors have been a mouth piece for the PNC Party and so they do no wrong in the eyes of all the years of PNC administration.
Head of State, President Dr. Irfaan Ali, had stressed on the swearing-in of the mayors and their deputies last March that, “Councils are facilitators of development and should not be barriers, creating unnecessary bureaucracy.” Unfortunately, this advice fell on some deaf ears as seen recently by the heavy rainfall and the flood.
There were obvious reasons for insinuating that mischief was a foot and those guilty are agencies of the enemy within the state. Former President, Dr. Bharat Jagdeo, now Vice-President, appeared this week on a social media programme and adumbrated that the government remains committed to helping the M&CC towards the restoration of the City Hall Building. He mentioned that $100M will be available towards this programme but the money will not be handed over to them, thus denying them its control. This action speaks volumes and underlines the unscrupulous behaviour of the team at City Hall. This is certainly a slap in the face and confirms that honesty and integrity must form an integral part of the M&CC infrastructure. Trust is certainly one of the missing elements in the equation and as long as the mayor-ship remains under the fold of the PNC, this flock will never have the confidence of any PPP/C administration. The M&CC needs to redeem itself. Can they?