I attended the ‘National Conversation on A Clean Guyana’ on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at the Amerindian Village, Sophia Exhibition Site. The majority in attendance consisted of young persons mobilized from the Cyril Potter Teachers College and it appears other institutions.
Ministers Norman Whittaker, Local Government, Robert Persaud, Natural Resources and the Environment and Dr. Beni Ramsarran, Health were in attendance and delivered addresses.
When the opportunity presented itself, I referred to Article 71 of our Constitution which the three Ministers swore to up hold. It begins thus: Local Government is a vital aspect of democracy…etc.
Minister Whittaker, in an attempt to deny my accusation, that the duly elected Mayor and Councillors were neither consulted nor informed about this 1/2 Billion dollars clean up for Georgetown, stated that, he had the benefit of inviting two of our officers to his meetings.
Therein lies the major problem — the Minister of Local Government continues to micro manage the Georgetown City Council, yet, as one of their minions suggested at the meeting, blame the Mayor and Councillors for the ills of the City. This is untrue, dishonest and part of the State propaganda blitz.
When it was pointed out that our Parliament passed a bill for the Restoration of Georgetown; Minister Whittaker stated that two Committees had not submitted reports and that this was the cause of the delay—one headed by Mr. Kit Nascimento and the other Mr. Joe Harmon, M.P.
I was surprised because I have known Mr. Nascimento for five decades and one may not always agree with him. However, I know him to be an efficient and effective professional with a penchant for meeting deadlines. Mr. Harmon also takes assignments seriously.
Further, inquiries in both cases proved that the Minister was not aware of the whole story. It appears that the Government is not truly interested in helping to restore the Capital City, Georgetown. Sad but true. In other words, the claim that the Nascimentos and Harmons were holding up the process is deceptive.
The other example: the truth, as the Minister was making heavy weather about how the Government was helping with the supply of trucks for the City, I reminded him as follows and the Minister failed, or could not give a straight answer.
Last year, Ms. Sooba sent me the usual approved form for my signature, to purchase trucks, a procedure used for years. It was to buy old trucks. After discussions with both retired and current mechanics, they said they were fed up with having to keep on the road vehicles sent to them that were old, oft-times without manuals, plus obtaining spares proved challenging, so they felt it was better to purchase one new vehicle rather than 2 or 3 used vehicles.
The authorization is signed by the Town Clerk, Treasurer, Engineer and the Mayor. When it was sent to me, I recorded the above and asked that the matter be further discussed. After three weeks and no discussion, I asked at a Statutory Meeting, what was the status.
Ms. Sooba arrogantly said, the Minister has signed the document in place of the Mayor. The absurdity is, the document is intended as the Council’s authority to the Minister to say release the funds.
On Saturday, Minister Whittaker did not avail himself the opportunity to deny this serious violation of a principle and total disregard for a duly elected official of the people.
The bottom line is, after the Mayor noted the Minister’s total disregard for the Council on Monday after he (Minister) walked out, he threatened to dissolve the City Council and install and IMC.
Say disregard 73% of the voters, but wish to put in place, a system for 27% to rule – So much for the Constitution and plain decency.
Hamilton Green, J.P.
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