Cleaning up the city Editorial

Guyana Chronicle
November 16, 2006

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THE recent decision by the Georgetown City Council to clear up the city's parapets is one of the better decisions taken in the management in the capital for a while.

The moniker of Garden City had begun to seem not a little ironical in light, of not only the fact that virtually all of the objects listed in the relevant legislation geared to prohibit such a practice could be found abandoned on a great many streets around the country.

As the Municipal and District Council Act, Chapter 28:01 states: "No person shall leave, place or store, or cause to be left, placed or stored, any vehicle, cart, dray, barrel, box, dust bin, tree trunk, branch, limb, or other thing upon any street, parapet, pavement, or footpath, or any other way encumber any street, parapet or pavement with any vehicle, cart, dray, barrel, box, dust bin or other thing. The City Engineer shall have the power to remove any such vehicle, cart, barrel, box, dust bin, tree trunk, branch, limb or other thing whatsoever left, placed or stored contrary to paragraph (1), and the cost of removing any such thing may be recovered by the Town Clerk in a court of competent jurisdiction from any person."

Parapet cleanup of course has much more to with old cars and tree trunks left at the side of the road.

Some of the greater offences when it comes to parapet obstruction have actually been committed by places of entertainment bars and discos whose ownership blatantly violate not just the Municipal and District Council Act, but perhaps as many laws as applies to them.

In the upcoming months, it would be good to see many of the zinc and wood structures which have popped up illegally over parapets around the city being dismantled.

Littering would be the next logical target, since the enforcement of the $10,000 fine once thought to be too prohibitive has been anything but adequate. While residential garbage collection in recent years has improved tremendously, the Garden City in many places continues to be as dirty as ever.

The Georgetown seawall, for example, is a place where the tide usually washes in not on clean sand but a 'treasure trove' of discarded plastic bottles, food boxes, old clothes, and the bloated carcasses of all sorts of animals.

Then there is the noise pollution, something also associated with the various bars and discos around the city, but which also extends to places of worship, music carts, public transport mini-buses and private vehicles.

Any cleaning up of the capital city has to take into account noise pollution as well.

The obstruction of a neighbourhood's right to peace and quiet is at least as important as the obstructions on its parapets, perhaps more.

President Bharrat Jagdeo's assertion is that the changes should be long term, and not just for the Cricket World Cup next year.

Let's hope that the course of the current clean up the city campaign really does last a great deal longer than the average weeks-long lifespan of most efforts preceding it.