Mayor laments City Hall’s exclusion from Haiti Relief efforts
Although City Hall remains in a cash-strapped state and struggles to maintain its daily administrative operation, City Mayor Hamilton Green yesterday raised his concerns about efforts to exclude the municipality from certain matters of public interest.
The Mayor was at the time extending his sympathy to the people of Haiti whose homeland has been devastated by a massive earthquake.
According to the Mayor, he was disappointed to learn that a stakeholders meeting was held and a National Co-ordinating Committee has since been formulated in order to garner relief in both cash and kind for Haiti.
“We just were not invited to the stakeholders meeting but I believe we should have been a part of this whole effort,” Green asserted yesterday.
He said that he has since been in touch with the Civil Defence Commission (CDC) which is helping to co-ordinate the local relief drive. According to Green, the municipality, though starved for finances, has in its possession other resources that could be useful in the quest to help Haiti.
“We have medical personnel and we have the constabulary from which officers can be drawn to assist in Haiti but nobody saw it as necessary to include the municipality and we are willing to help.
Admittedly, we don’t have finances to give but we do have human resources,” Mayor Green insisted.
The earthquake which occurred last week Tuesday was of the catastrophic magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter, at a depth of about 13 kilometers (8.1 miles). Reports are that its epi-centre was near Léogâne, approximately 25 kilometers (16 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.
The United States Geological Survey had subsequently recorded at least 33 aftershocks, 14 of them between magnitudes 5.0 and 5.9.
The International Red Cross estimated that about three million people were affected by the quake and the Haitian Interior Minister believes that up to 200,000 have died as a result of the disaster.
Several prominent public figures are among the dead. Haitian Prime Minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, last week announced that over 70,000 bodies have been buried in mass graves and homes and several historic buildings, including the Presidential Palace, have been destroyed. So devastating has been the natural disaster that it is now listed among the top 10 worst tragedies the world has ever seen.
It was against this background that leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Robert Corbin, disclosed that the party will be willing to support efforts to relocate some survivors here.
According to Corbin, the PNCR position as it relates to immigration is in fact not new. He recounted that the PNC, several years ago had engaged in several immigration programmes including the bringing of Jamaicans to settle on the Soesdyke/Linden highway.
“We had even brought people and settle them in the hinterland.
They did not all turn out to be as successful as was initially contemplated because for some reason many of those immigrants returned to their original places,” Corbin disclosed.
In principal, he asserted, the party has always been of the mind that if Guyana can offer support to people from around the world “we should not hold back.
“We have 83,000 square miles most of which are not fully populated…but once we regulate and put systems in place and it can contribute to our development we would support such initiatives as a broad policy.”
However, experience has shown that such programmes and initiatives cannot be forced into being, Corbin emphasised.
He cautioned that the initial move toward such a venture should come from the people of Haiti and not Guyana.