Commissioner of Inquiry, Keith Burrowes, yesterday confirmed that he has handed over the three-volume report to Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Kellawan Lall. The report contains details of an investigation he spearhead into the operations of the Georgetown municipality.
The report was presented to the Minister at his office yesterday, according to Burrowes.
The Commissioner, however, expressed regret that the formal handing over of the report could not have been done yesterday as was initially scheduled, a development he described as beyond the control of the Commission. The formal handing over should have been followed by a press conference.
He, however, noted that a press conference to discuss various aspects of the report will be co-hosted by himself and the Minister on Friday next at Cara Lodge, Quamina Street, Georgetown.
Burrowes explained that this decision was taken because the Minister would be placed “on the spot” without having a good chance of perusing the report in its entirety.
But while acknowledging that the report will take the municipality to another plateau, City Mayor Hamilton Green recently reflected on the fact that there were several similar reports that have been done in the past.
The Mayor has observed that the problem within the municipality is in fact wider. “We must not see the trees and not the forest.”
According to him, the Georgetown municipality remains strangulated by the existing laws and constitution. “I make this boast that if I as Mayor and my colleagues were given a free hand to manage this municipality, we would have one of the best cities in the Caribbean, if not the hemisphere, with an extremely satisfied citizenship. But that has never been the case,” the Mayor asserted.
He said that regardless of the recommendations that are made. “You can do very little without money. We have not been allowed to raise money and you can do very little unless you have control of the management of your subordinates.”
As such, the Mayor noted that it is his hope that upon receipt of the Commission’s report, that the powers that be will take the management of the Georgetown City Council seriously, and not use it as another “political expedient to carry out their obvious conquest and march to hegemony.”
The Mayor further expressed hope that with the unveiling of the report the Local Government Reform process that has been in hibernation will be allowed to produce a system which avoids “the cosmetology of shared and good governance.”
He added that the process should in fact allow local authority some autonomy so that as representatives of the people they can, with the appropriate checks and balances, deliver an effective service to the citizens.
According to Green, he will remain committed to that vision and in spite of the hurdles, noted that “I want to make a public statement that I never did in all my half-a-century of public life and never will carry a white flag of surrender.”
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