The rubbish crisis in the city

Guyana Chronicle
October 16, 1999

GARBAGE removal trucks were back at work in the city yesterday as the latest crisis ensnaring an unfortunate Georgetown began to ease.

There were huge sighs of relief from citizens and visitors as the battle began against the horrible mounds of rubbish that have been growing on the landscape, especially around the municipal markets.

But this rubbish episode, billed as being rooted in a claim for outstanding pay by garbage removal contractors, is only the latest in the sorry saga being played out in Georgetown.

This capital city has long had more than its fair share of woes and it seems to be lurching from crisis to crisis.

The garbage showdown only exacerbated this state of affairs, coming hard on the heels of a crisis of overgrown bush on parapets and street corners and the fiasco with the closure of the Stabroek Market for urgent repairs.

Even as the garbage crisis loomed, City Hall found itself hard put to explain why it flew to Miami to fork out hard currency (U.S. dollars!!!) for uniforms and other items for City Constables and other employees.

That overseas expedition (including some so far unaccountable expenditure) made it hard for many to believe that City Hall was short of money to pay its garbage collectors or that it had its priorities right.

The Christmas season is around the corner and the street vendor phenomenon will soon again be in full flow in the commercial sector of the city.

Despite widely-publicised moves, the vendors have taken firm root in the streets and another crisis is growing.

This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue.

Head of the Private Sector Commission, Mr. George Jardim, this week argued that city government probably needs a completely different form of management, "free of politics."

"Government, business, the social partners and every Guyanese, must understand that if we lose our capital city to disorganisation, crime and anarchy, it will be impossible to attract investment or tourism," Mr. Jardim declared.

"As recent and horrifying events in Georgetown have shown, crime and security have become one of the major concerns of business. Innocent business people now fear for their lives as they try to go about the daily running of their businesses.

"This will definitely have a negative effect on business activity, both by causing businessmen to think twice about starting new businesses, and by increasing the costs of existing business", he said.

Unpalatable as it is, the garbage crisis has served up piles of food for thought for all those with the best interests of the country at heart.

A © page from:
Guyana: Land of Six Peoples