Getting it on
December 8, 2006
TWO government ministers were in the team yesterday visiting the popular Bourda Market in Georgetown to check on conditions there as part of the ambitious scheme to `nice up’ the city.
The government’s plan is to restore Georgetown to some of its past grandeur and to expand the campaign to the environs of the city.
Not surprisingly, Local Government and Regional Development Minister, Mr. Kellawan Lall and Transport and Hydraulics Minister, Mr. Robeson Benn and other members of the team came up close and personal with several concerns.
These include refuse, physical appearance, maintenance, security and the stench emanating from around the market.
The welcome news is that a private firm will be contracted to remove garbage from the market under the government-led scheme to clean up and beautify Georgetown, in time for the Cricket World Cup matches here next year, and beyond.
Getting the city in tip top shape in time for that international cricket tournament will be a mighty task and fixing up Bourda is but a small part of the grand scheme.
President Bharrat Jagdeo last week pointed to the enormity of the task and indicated that the government cannot rely on the council to get certain basic things done.
Noting that a “significant amount of money” has been set aside for the beautification campaign that was intended to be a City Council effort, President Jagdeo told reporters he is now chairing the committee spearheading the beautification drive due to the importance attached to the effort before the Cricket World Cup tournament.
“We are going to spend quite a bit of money on beautifying the city and also the East Bank corridor and part of the East Coast corridor (and) we have already started,” he said.
That the President himself has had to take a hand in managing the scheme is a stark indication of how huge and crucial the undertaking is and an indictment of those in charge of managing the affairs of the city.
Mr. Jagdeo found it necessary to call on the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to ‘get its act together’ and do a much better job at managing the finances of the city.
“They (M&CC) really need to do a better job at managing the finances of the city…or you will never get anything done,” President Jagdeo told reporters Sunday afternoon during a tour of the two state-of-the-art hotels going up at Providence on the East Bank Demerara.
According to the President, the M&CC has not paved a single road in the city for probably 10 years now, with all the paving works being done directly through the government.
“If we were to withdraw from the work that we are doing with regards to paving roads in the city…and the drainage works and the hundreds of millions of dollars that we pay in taxes every year, then you wouldn’t have anything done; so they need to focus a bit more on the management of their finances,” Mr. Jagdeo contended.
The presence of two Cabinet ministers in a team checking on conditions at a city market under the charge of the City Council is not therefore that remarkable an event.
It is more a reality check and a reflection of what needs to be done to be getting it on in this capital city of ours.