Mayor Ubraj Narine is up for internal consideration in less than a month’s time, for continuation or otherwise in his office as leader of the municipality and capital city of Georgetown. Barring any December surprise (there was one last year), the incumbent mayor looks tipped to enjoy an extension of office.
From the perch of this publication, Mayor Narine has had a few hiccups and missteps, which come from several factors. He was thrust into an environment that is as old as sin, and maybe even more scarlet. The mere mention of thinking of addressing, by way of changing the established ways of doing things, of serving the longsuffering ratepayers and residents of the city, raises alarms, leads to rigid resistance. The resistances can be open and defiant, or crafty and behind-the-back, but they are always present, whether subtle or sullenly in-the-face. And for emphasis, this is simply the thinking of approaching things and responsibilities differently. For that is war.
Thus, His Worship has had a steep and difficult learning curve in his introductory days, through an apprenticeship that was unsparing. The astonishing newspaper reports relay only part of the tale. But, as most likely many citizens will agree, the young mayor – in age and experience – has conducted himself satisfactorily on a number of fronts. It is admitted that this is a guarded recognition, a sparse word, of the yeoman effort that he has put in on a daily basis. That he has done so without flinching before the forces arrayed is a testimony to his resolve to serve honourably, to deliver commendably.
For the forces lined up against the mayor, and by extension any whispers of changing the ways things are done, of moving matters to a different plain, includes more than the internal dinosaurs and bureaucratic relics of the continuing Guyanese Stone Age of indifference and visionary destitution and strategic negating. Why contemplate and then introduce change when it could be costly? Don’t go anywhere near such draining obligations; draining, but fair and due, chronically overdue.
This is the contention of those on the outside, who are part of the commercial and residential architecture of the capital, which is this contradiction of high rises and high eyesores, lowlifes with the lowest of intentions.
As evidence, there is the record of those, who are in arrears, but have no issue with denouncing the standards that prevail for drainage and garbage collection and street cleaning and market security.
Those with unzipped lips, who form a loud part of the chorus of critics, conveniently neglect to remember that they owe. They owe the city monies due, lots of monies, as in tens of millions, which when added together could go a far way to making this once Garden City a better place, if not actually aspire and return to some semblance of its once pristine beauty and tranquility.
Mayor Narine has made a start, a spirited one it has been, despite the odds, despite the bickering and squabbling, despite the threadbare treasury, despite the efforts of those who like things just the way they are, since they are so personally enriching. It is the handiwork of the unscrupulous and uncooperative and unsavory. They may withhold (money or documents), they may pretend (at memory lapse or poor business returns), they may prevaricate (foot dragging and stonewalling). But when a man is determined to overcome, he usually does, and when there is a nucleus of spiritual and philosophical brethren within, admittedly still small, then both the will is found and a way out of the morass is carved out.
The mayor has a solid deputy, who has been content, from all public observances, to support robustly, and should be retained in that capacity. The same may be said of a few of the pivotal committees, which have conducted the internal refinements as to standards and values that must be brought to bear and then made to become the very culture of the organization that is incorporated under the broad, all-purpose umbrella of City Hall. Perhaps a reconfiguring here and there, especially of audit oversight would be timely and should be given serious weight.
Mayor Narine and most of his team should be returned on December 12.
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