A great many arguments have erupted about the Georgetown City Council and the decline of the capital city. Unfortunately, most of these arguments lack logic and are based on questionable premises.
Take for example the argument which runs as follows: the government appoints the Town Clerk. The Town Clerk is sympathetic to the government. Therefore, the government has taken control of the administration of the city.
The latter conclusion then forms a premise that is used to make another argument which goes as follows: The government has taken control of the administration of the city. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to solve the city’s problems.
Even the most cursory examination of these arguments would expose gaps in their logical flow. It would also reveal underlying flaws in the arguments themselves.
Let us take the first argument which concludes that the government has taken control of the administration of the city. This argument is based on the assumption that whoever controls the Town Clerk controls the administration of the City.
In this context, it needs to be asked who controlled the City before the present Town Clerk was appointed. The government has always had the power to appoint the Town Clerk but previous Town Clerks were not always seen as sympathetic to the government. In fact it is not known just who they were sympathetic to since at times they were at odds with the opposition dominated Council.
Therefore if previous Town Clerks were neither sympathetic to government nor to the opposition-controlled Council, then under the assumption that he who enjoys the sympathy of the Town Clerk controls the administration of the city, it means that no one was in control of the affairs of the city before the appointment of the present Town Clerk.
This exposes the flaws in the assumption that by mere appointment of someone deemed to be sympathetic, the government assumes responsibility for the administration of the City.
Also, if by appointing a sympathizer as Town Clerk effectively vests control of the administration of City Hall to government, it needs to be questioned why prior to now, no one sympathetic to the government was ever appointed as Town Clerk.
The fact of the matter is that the power to appoint neither assures a sympathetic appointment or hands control over to the government.
The second argument flows from the first and states that since government has taken control of the administration of the city, it must be held responsible for solving the city’s problems. That is, responsibility for fixing the problems of the city flows from having control of the administration of the city.
Again in order to test this hypothesis, one has to inquire whether the converse argument or the alternative hypothesis has been disproved.
If indeed the argument is that control of the administration incurs the responsibility to solve the problems of the city, then it needs to be asked just who should have been held responsible for solving the affairs of the city prior to appointment of the present Town Clerk.
If the answer is that it is the Council was under the control of the Council, then the failure to solve the problems of the city prior to the government appointing the present Town Clerk must be laid squarely at the feet of the opposition dominated Council.
Based on this logic, it is the opposition which must be held responsible for not solving the problems of the city prior to this year’s appointment of a Town Clerk who is said to be sympathetic to the government.
Now if the decline of the city led to the floods of last week and if this decline began before the appointment of the present Town Clerk, then whoever was responsible for the administration of the city in the past must share the responsibility for the decline.
If that decline contributed to the flooding, then it would mean that the responsibility for the flooding cannot only be apportioned to whoever it is said now controls the city, can it?
None of the two main arguments about the government controlling the administration and the government being responsible for fixing the city, can therefore stand up to scrutiny. They are deeply flawed.
But they do raise an interesting point which the government may wish to consider. Since the government is being blamed for not solving the problems of the city and since the government is said to be now in control of the administration of the city, perhaps the government should now commandeer the present administration of City Hall and move ahead to fix the problems of the city without resort to the elected Council.
Is it not the government that was fixing the roads prior to the recent heavy rains? Was it not the government that had under the auspices of the local government Ministry began to assist with garbage collection? Is it not the government that is now leading the charge in terms of cleaning the drains?
So why if regardless of what City Hall does or does not do, government is burdened with the task of intervening to fix problems in the city, should government not simply commandeer the administration of the city? After all, they are blamed anyway!
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