– Religious bodies, civil society and private sector to be engaged
By Jarryl Bryan
Newly installed Town Clerk Royston King yesterday laid out his plans for transforming the ‘Garden City’ on the table, making known a broad range of policy changes he intends to pursue, with the help of stakeholders comprising religious bodies, the private sector and civil society.
This was conveyed during a meeting in City Hall.
“We have to deliver on our obligations, especially the call to deliver to citizens a city that is clean, healthy, efficient, economically viable and environmentally friendly.” King declared yesterday.
He revealed the use of a two-pronged approach to accomplish these ends, focusing on internal integration – in an effort to get all the departments to work in tandem to return credibility to the workings of the council.
“We will do this by the retraining, retooling and reorganizing of our departments and staff.” King said, also expressing that with the current officer corps on board, the skills are there to get the job done.
“Second, we need to look at external adaptation, i.e. putting the council in a position to respond to the external demands of our environment. We will do this through building strong partnerships with all stakeholders, including religious stakeholders, private sector organizations and civil society. We will work at City Hall to establish an unbeatable team”
King expressed assurances that he would have continuous meetings with the media in a bid to keep the public informed about the progress the Town Clerk was having.
King also referred to “architectural indiscipline’ throughout the city, which had to be corrected. He gave as his main example the Stabroek Market wharf, which he called ‘unsafe’, as well as illegitimate vendors who would have to be relocated. He revealed that a meeting between City Hall and the Public Infrastructure Ministry is imminent, to address the conditions.
“That is a priority to us, because we are a responsible council and our priority is the health and safety of all of our citizens in Georgetown and Guyana.”
King also promised to enact measures for the Kitty Market, which he said would have to be dealt with in an urgent manner, on the premise of the many reports the council had gotten about its safety hazards.
“I shudder to think what will happen if someone’s roof collapses on someone in that vicinity.” He said.
King also spoke of Le Repentir cemetery, stating that “the way we treat and honour our dead is a reflection of the way we value the ones we are living with.” He promised to return Le Repentir to a garden-like state.
He also expressed that Religious and other bodies that have special grounds within the cemetery, including the Islamic fraternity and Christian bodies, will be expected to continue to play their part. He also spoke of those who buried their loved ones but never looked back, saying it is necessary for them to get involved in cleaning up the cemetery.
King revealed that the audit department had already been set up within the Council, to manage and assess risks and flag design systems that could improve the efficiency of the Council.
King also revealed plans to add Environment to the Public Health Market Committee, members of which had paid a recent visit to the Stabroek Market Wharf. According to King, the vendors in question, whom he referred to as illegal tenants, would be relocated and the wharf rebuilt.
King, who was confirmed by city Mayor Hamilton Green on Monday as Town Clerk after recommendations were approved by Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan, is filling the position vacated by former acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba.
Sooba was sacked with the advent of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) Government after the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C)’s loss at the May i1th National and Regional Elections saw her support fall by the wayside.
Sooba had generated much controversy during her tenure as Town Clerk (acting), with repeated clashes with Mayor Green. Green had made it clear that ‘square pegs in round holes’ would not be tolerated, shortly before Sooba received her termination letter from Bulkan.
King had been recommended for the post of Town Clerk since 2011, after applying for the post but was unsuccessful. He was appointed again on July 24th 2012, but was blocked then, and again from May 6th, 2014. Sooba had been consistently defended by the past administration, who had claimed that qualifications were not the only consideration for the post.
King is the former Public Relations Officer of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council and has a Masters Degree in Corporate Communications.
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