THE Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, led by Minister Nigel Dharamlall, has announced plans to conduct a significant clean-up exercise at Stabroek Market on Sunday, March 26, 2023. The move comes in response to the failure of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council to address the concerns of vendors who have accused the Mayor and Council of neglecting their needs.
Vendors have expressed frustration over the lack of interest shown by the Mayor and Council in improving the condition of the market to create a more comfortable environment for working and shopping. Some of the pressing concerns raised by vendors include the lack of adequate security, poor sanitation, improper drainage, leaking roofs, blocked hydrants, and inefficient facilities management.
Minister Dharamlall and his team plan to redeploy more city constabulary officers to supplement the current team of just five officers as part of the clean-up exercise. The vendors’ committee will also be re-established, and repairs will be made to the fish bay area roof and washrooms, while all drains in the market will be desilted. Additionally, garbage removal will be done daily, facilities management will be strengthened, and outlets clogged with garbage will be excavated.
Going forward, vendors who do not comply with the rules of the market, including those who litter, will be prosecuted following the law.
The clean-up exercise comes at a time when the garbage situation in Georgetown has worsened, reaching crisis levels in numerous instances. The Mayor and Council have also failed to deliver on their responsibility to take care of the city’s roadways and drainage systems, often willfully due to the PNC/R controlled Mayorship and Council that aims to undermine the progressive works being done under the PPP/C administration.
The mismanagement of the municipality’s funds has become commonplace. The lack of accountability and transparency at City Hall makes it impractical for Central Government to continue directly handing over money to the municipality. In the upcoming Local Government Elections (LGE), the need for Georgetown citizens to put their trust in the PPP/C is crucial for greater accountability at the City Council and better stewardship of the municipality’s funds, which would support an increased flow of revenue.
The PPP/C has gained increasing support at successive LGEs since 2016, enhancing the party’s chances in this year’s LGE. However, the party will not take an easy win for granted and is looking to hit the ground running during this campaign season. Turnout at Local Government Elections has always been a factor, but the PPP/C is confident of doing well in these elections.
The PPP/C’s optimism is supported by the continued state of uncertainty brewing over the PNCR’s plans for the LGE. The opposition leader and his party remain cryptic about their plans. The LGE has been set for June 12, with Nominations Day — the day the parties officially catalogue their candidates — being set for April 12. The LGEs are open to all political parties as well as independent candidates who can contest individual constituencies within Local Authority Areas (LAA).
The PPP/C has over 80 clusters or groups across the country that are fielding the suggestions of candidates to be submitted by the party for the respective LAAs. The upcoming LGE presents an opportunity for Georgetown citizens to choose a party that prioritizes accountability and transparency in governance, with the hope of a better future for the municipality.
The ruling party has been seeing a huge influx of persons wanting to join ahead of the LGE, and as such, is not only confident of its chances in its customary strongholds, but is optimistic of even making inroads in some of the opposition’s hotspots.
It is important to note that the PNC, part of the APNU coalition, has historically been uncomfortable with elections in general, particularly local government elections. During their 28-year term in office, the PNC only held Local Government Elections once, and it was widely rigged to ensure their control over local government bodies.
It is heartening to see that GECOM has taken measures to ensure greater transparency in the elections processes. The deadline for Claims and Objections has been extended, and the cycle of continuous registration has been suspended to include all eligible persons who have registered thus far.
It is important to understand that local democracy is an essential part of democratic governance, and the PPP/C administration is taking it seriously. President Mohamed Irfaan Ali has called on all Guyanese to work towards building and strengthening the local governance system, communities, and a system that delivers to the people.