Jan 21, 2012 News
– “I wouldn’t give them a blind penny…”
The Mayor and City Council of Georgetown (M&CC) has been declared a haven for irresponsible and
unaccountable city officials with glaring overt and offensive political intrigues. This declaration was made at the level of Cabinet and was revealed by Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon, during his weekly press briefing on Wednesday.
He pointed out that it is obvious that the municipal entity has evolved into a health hazard, a situation that is confronting the citizens of the capital city. “Cabinet members recognize this and have indeed been subjected to appeals for intervention and most of these appeals have been coming from outraged residents of the capital city.” He alluded to the fact that Cabinet continues to decry the level of non-cooperation and in many cases outright discourtesy experienced by Ministry officials at the hands of the functionaries at the M&CC. The resolve of Cabinet, according to Dr. Luncheon, is that the Ministers responsible for Local Government and Regional Development, that is, Ministers Ganga Persaud and Norman Whittaker, will continue to engage the City Council, enforce the law and organize efforts to mitigate the impact of the municipality’s ineptitude.”
While the existing challenge could be easily addressed with the much anticipated Local Government Elections, the Cabinet Secretary pointed out that “my concern which is shared by many others is that elections would be too late and something needs to be done right now.” He nonetheless noted that Government is committed to ensuring that the Local Government Elections is held before this year expires, adding that efforts will also be made to collaborate with stakeholders to ensure that intervening measures are implemented in the interim.
“The intervention that I see for this situation, which reoccurs, would of course see the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Local Government moving in and providing financial and material resources to mitigate the impact of the ineptitude of the Council. I am sure that the Ministry of Health is looking on and drawing up plans to deal with combating the hazards that are likely, if they have not occurred….” Dr. Luncheon noted.
And while organizing the Local Government elections will take some time “there are fears that “we might succumb to mosquitoes, garbage, health hazards or even denied municipal functioning…there are fears, reasonable fears that the situation might indeed become too perilous for us to await the inevitability of a manifesto undertaking of Local Government Elections before the end of 2012.”
In light of this possibility, Dr Luncheon said that there will be decisive intervention in the areas that warrant intervention with the general feeling and the overwhelming sentiments of many beginning “to see the backs of those at this municipality.”
“This is a ‘Band of Brigands’…to substantiate this contention of mine, this is a view confirmed by the Auditor General and Committees put in place that these guys are treating financial resources rules and regulations with this wild abandonment. Could you conceivably feel that anyone would give a penny more than they are getting? And that is the crux of the issue…”
At the end of the day, Dr Luncheon noted that there is no doubt that more money is indeed needed to address the multitudes of problems that bedevil the City Council but added that “I wouldn’t give them a blind penny.”
The long and short of it is that those mandated to run the municipality have not demonstrated overtime resolve to be open, transparent and accountable” and according to the Cabinet Secretary “I think there is a feeling substantiated by reports audits and such likes that funds are being squandered.” The fact that accountability is lacking at the municipality, he said that it presents a situation that gives rise to the question “do you throw good money behind bad money and do you put it into a black hole that is out there at the City Council?”
I for one continue to reflect on a period prior to Local Government Elections when a situation like this did not obtain under an Interim Management Committee (IMC),” he asserted, pointing out that “I am responsive to the sentiments expressed by many that a solution is essential and it involves getting this group of functionaries out and having some new arrangements put in place that would be accountable, use funds appropriately and manage the city.”
Was Jagdeo honest when he made those promises?
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