Jun 10, 2021 Letters
The news that the Guyana Fire Service has had to condemn and deem as a public hazard Guyana’s most famous and picturesque nineteenth-century Gothic Revival building, the City Hall of Georgetown would have been funny if it weren’t so sad.
Imagine the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown, the entity that has responsibility for ensuring the structural soundness of all edifices in our capital, the agency that has been condemning and demolishing buildings in the Garden City over the years has had its headquarters condemned and sealed off from occupation by another agency due to the absolutely dilapidated state of it.
It is simply mind-blowing that this agency which has on its bloated payroll tons of engineers, building inspectors and other personnel primarily concerned with designing and constructing buildings have allowed this building to not only be allowed to deteriorate to this ruinous state, but to be recklessly and negligently occupied until the Fire Service was forced to step in.
It is incomprehensible how the administrators there, at the risk of life and limb of the scores of persons occupying that building, both staff members and visiting members of the public, could have heedlessly and negligently allowed business to be carried on as usual each day at that facility. What were they waiting for? A major disaster to strike? How could the City’s Fathers and Mothers attend almost daily, meetings and be filibustering whilst the building fell apart one chunk at a time? Indeed, there continues to be a considerable risk being posed to pedestrians and motorists using the area contiguous to City Hall to commute particularly now with heavy winds and rainfall.
In other societies where high levels of ethics and morals exist, the senior officials of the Council who sat day after day, year after year without ensuring that monies were put aside in each year’s budget and expended on the maintenance of City Hall would have been deemed to not have been operating in the common interest and public good of society, but instead they are paid super salaries and treated as if they are assets to the city.
There is an old proverb that says, ‘A stitch in time, saves nine’. Had a mere ten million dollars been allocated each year and honestly used to maintain that structure, there would never been the situation now where rehabilitation is pegged at a whopping one billion dollars.
But no, instead hundreds of millions were wasted on building unfinished presidential parks, a ‘Hair Stylists/Cosmetologists Row’, wholesale vending spots that resemble dog kennels, a petting zoo all on the Merriman Mall which are a complete disgrace and eyesore, a white elephant car park on East Street between Middle and New Market Streets, a still incomplete Kitty Market and so much more.
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