President David Granger has once again called on the Georgetown Mayor and City Council to engage the citizens of Georgetown in consultation on critical matters and advised them to avoid the escalation of an adversarial relation between the Council and the people.
The President made these comments even as he pledged not to interfere in the work of any of the Councils across Guyana.
Speaking on the Ministry of the Presidency’s ‘Public Interest’ television programme, President Granger said that Georgetown is the capital city of the country and as such, the national interest and that of the citizens must be the priority. This, he said, therefore requires consultations, through which citizens can have a voice in what they believe, are in their best interests and that of the country.
“Georgetown is a national capital and not just any other municipality. It is the capital of the entire state and there needed to be responsiveness on the part of the Council to the Central Government’s interest [and] the national interest. I actually advised that every member of the Council was responsible for a particular constituency and they should visit their constituencies… my own view is that there should be greater consultation. That is the message I had felt that I had transmitted to the Mayor and Councilors. That in everything they did, they need to be assured of not necessarily compliance, but consultation with the stakeholders, whether it is the vendors or other people…,” the President said on the programme.
The President noted that while it is understood that some changes are necessary for the development of the capital city and the lives of the residents, it is also imperative that consultations be held, so that citizens feel included and that their opinions are taken into consideration.
“Vending is a legitimate economic activity and if there needs to be changes, in accordance with sanitary rules or safety rules, there should be consultations and adequate preparations for the vendors. Similarly in other matters, now the matter of the parking meters has arisen and the matters of container tax, I would urge the Mayor and City Council to embark on a consultative process. I will not interfere, to the extent that they feel that the Council itself is acting within the law. I am not interested in a conflictual situation or in a confrontational situation. It is my view that consultation is the way to go. In the case of the vendors, there was consultation, people were advised and informed of the need for change. Similarly for every major measure that will have an effect on the residents of Georgetown, corporate residents, private property owners, there must be information and communication. They should be directing and not dictating. I am simply asking for the process to be open and transparent so that people know what the decisions are made by the people,” President Granger said.
President Granger also sought to remind the Councilors that the return of local democracy in Guyana after an absence of more than two decades means that their re-election to office is entirely dependent on their performance over the next two and a half years, not their personality or Party affiliation and as such, this should be taken into consideration in every decision which is undertaken. (MOTP)