Aug 06, 2008 News
The decision by the government to remove the Stabroek Car Park from the control of City Hall has also resulted in the municipality relinquishing its sanitisation service to the facility.
This is according to City Mayor, Hamilton Green, who in an invited comment yesterday said that the council will play no role in maintaining the park since the government, through the Minister of Public Works, Mr Robeson Benn, made an arbitrary decision to revoke the park which has been in the care of the municipality for more than 17 years.
Recent observations of the park revealed that during the day garbage is piled up in some sections, much to the distress of persons accessing the facility.
This newspaper understands that the since the seizure of the park the council has not assigned any personnel to clean that area as was customary. Thus the area is left in an unkempt state for the most part of the day.
It was, however, disclosed that personnel from the Solid Waste Department, during their night cleaning routine, would sometimes remove the accumulated garbage at the facility.
But according to Minister of Local Government, Kellawan Lall, in an invited comment yesterday, the municipality has the responsibility to remove garbage whether it is generated by vendors or not.
He said that even if a property is regarded as private or publicly owned, the council is still expected to carry out its mandated task.
The Minister said that he is very concerned that the municipality would even believe that the park was out of its cleansing jurisdiction.
However, Mayor Green is adamant that it is the sole responsibility of the Ministry to ensure that the park is kept in an acceptable manner to facilitate its new role as a minibus park.
He articulated that not only was the seizure of the park an improper decision but it is also inconsistent with the Georgetown Development Plan outlined for the city.
He said that the city could have been in a much better state had Government allowed the implementation of the 2001-2010 Plan which was accepted by Cabinet.
Mayor Green disclosed that had the plan been put into effect there would have been adequate parking facilities and much more order in the city.
And not only has the institution of the park served to successfully halt a revenue earning scheme for the council, but it has also created a dilemma for vendors within the market.
According to leading member of the Stallholders Association and vendor, Albert Lewis, vendors can no longer conveniently access the park.
As a result, he said that when vendors have the need to offload their merchandise they are forced to do so at the southern end of the Fire Station, in Hadfield Street and even further, depending on where parking is available.
This, he said, is compounded by the fact that they have to hire help to fetch their products to their stalls, which is not only a painstaking task but also causes them to incur additional cost.
Additionally, he said that several customers have been lost since, like the vendors, they have no place nearby to park their personal vehicles as they conduct business in the market.
Lewis said that the Association, as a result, had formed a delegation and had met with Minister Benn to voice their concerns.
Mr Lewis said that so far nothing of substance has been done to rectify the problem. And while the Association intends to approach the situation with much caution, Lewis said that vendors will not rule out taking the matter to higher levels of intervention.
According to Mayor Green, the negative impact of the government-enforced decision has caused only mounting negative impacts on vendors and the marketplace as a whole.
During an interview last June, the Mayor had revealed that the impact of the decision had already seen a 45 per cent reduction of business at the market.
He believes that it is even worse now.
Like other city officials, Mr Lewis is claiming that the move will have some negative bearing on the Tourism Industry.
According to Mayor Green, “The market environment has been sullied as a tourist site and will undoubtedly lose its attractiveness.”
He speculated that were it possible he would have sued the Ministry already for taking away the park but noted that Government has put in place a legislation to guard against such actions.
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