Towards a cleaner city
June 7, 2000
The City Council is again moving to get a cleaner city.
Despite the bad track record and the previous half-hearted attempts at restoring pride to Georgetown, citizens and visitors should not despair.
Every fresh effort is worth backing because Guyanese simply deserve a better capital.
Under the theme `Working together for a cleaner city', the City Council is inviting business people and others to look at practical ways to improve conditions in Georgetown.
It has planned a special programme with the business community and in spite of the street protest fatigue and other forms of stress they have had to endure since December 1997 (and which seems to be still in fashion judging from the outrage at the Forestry Commission last month), we urge business people to try to help this latest initiative.
The city's shame is all Guyana's and short of moving out and abandoning it, those who live, work and spend time in Georgetown should feel some sense of responsibility towards its betterment and upkeep.
For example, those old, decaying buildings that are so much an eyesore all around the city have to be demolished - they simply cannot be allowed to tarnish the landscape.
Who are the owners? And are there no legal steps that can be taken against them for creating health and environmental hazards?
If the owners no longer care and have abandoned the land (prime real estate in a capital city), the municipality and the state should take legal steps to have the sites put to better use.
Derelict buildings are more than eyesores - they are a danger to passersby and a haven for criminals, rogues and vagabonds.
They should be gotten rid of and we welcome the City Council's proposed steps in this regard.
Central Government has a major role in any campaign to improve conditions in the nation's capital and we expect it will be working closely with the City Council in this latest initiative.
If Guyana is serious about developing tourism, improving conditions in the capital will be crucial and this will also mean ensuring their safety on the streets, already long notorious for brazen and often violent muggings (choke and rob) even in daylight.
Cleaning up the city has to involve cleaning up the criminal elements and those behind this fresh drive have to take this on board.
Criminals will have to learn the hard way that the streets of Georgetown are no longer safe for them if visitors are to feel safe.
Clearing away the mounds of garbage, keeping the streets and surroundings clean, and dealing with the street people will be major undertakings but all this can be done if there's a willingness and determination by the key players to be involved.
It should be a matter of national pride to help Georgetown shed its dirty image and transform it into what it once was - the Garden City of the Caribbean and this should not be such a daunting undertaking.
It is a small city compared to others and many of the tasks required can be accomplished without too much trouble.
What is needed is the will.
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