Georgetown’s biggest eyesore 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 Yubraj 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 is one of its surrogates. Aligned in the jurisdiction of Region 4, 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, malpractices, neglect, unaudited reports, bullish and dictatorial attitudes, an unhealthy public relationship, and non-co-operation with PPP/C administration, this consistency has resulted into a “Garden City” being run down to a “Garbage City.” The building itself is in such a poor state of condition that its shabby appearance makes the small man’s hut look 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 which 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 turns not to gold, but old. The PNC party is internationally known to be an “eat, drink and be merry” party, incapable of being spendthrift and known to live for the current day only.
They 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, borrow or steal, 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 bailout 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 was more so encouraged by the previous PNC Government. All of the City’s mayors have been a mouthpiece for the PNC party, and so they do no wrong in the eyes of all the years of PNC administration.
The 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 rain fall and the flood. There were obvious reasons for insinuating that mischief was afoot, and those guilty are agencies of the enemy within the state.
Former President Dr. Bharrat 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 would be available towards this programme, but the money would not be handed over to them, thus denying them its control. This action speaks volumes and underlines the unscrupulous behaviour of the mayor and his management deficiency. 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 mayorship 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 it do so?