World Cup: A task beyond the city By Cecil Griffith
City Council Round-Up
Stabroek News
November 13, 2006

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Enough is enough, is the message which has been sent to the public at large, about the inability of the Georgetown City Council led by Mayor Hamilton Green to clean up and beautify Georgetown in time for Cricket World Cup next year.

President Bharrat Jagdeo has finally decided to 'take the municipal bull by the horns' by setting up a special Task Force under the direction of cabinet to deal with this issue which for all intents and purposes has proven to be beyond the reach of city 'fathers' and 'mothers'.

According to the head of state he has given clear instructions 'for the major and long term clean up of the city and surrounding areas‚€¦' He emphasized that "this is not a short term thing for World Cup cricket, but for the future and he had already given clear instructions." Several government ministries including Works and Local Government are to be involved.

This column has recently been drawing the attention of the Jagdeo administration to the enormity of the task facing councillors from the three political parties, including the People's Progressive Party/Civic backed by an administration which like the city 'fathers' and 'mothers', from their performance, is ill prepared to undertake any clean up campaign using 'their' own resources and expertise.

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The Council's role

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It will be of interest to the public to know what part the council would be playing in this new dispensation.

It must be acknowledged that there are a few senior officers who should be accepted by the Task Force to work along in the President's announced campaign. Their experiences on the job over the years should be sought.

The disbursement of funds for this exercise must be left entirely to the Task Force and progress reports must be available to the media on a regular basis.

It has been whispered around city hall that what the Head of State is seeking is first class performance and accountability. Councillors, as expected, are uncomfortable with some of the proposed structures.

With the government virtually taking charge of key sections of the municipality many councillors from the PNCR and the Good and Green Guyana must be apprehensive over the president's announcement which is likely to leave many of the council's statutory committees with nothing to do thus cutting the empty rhetoric which typifies meetings.

Some of those councillors who had lobbied against the proposal by the government earlier this year for the capital to be turned over to an Interim Management Committee must be fearful that the personal clout which some of them wielded is slipping from their hands.

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The paint up

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Coming on the heels of the president's announcement last week, there is a report that the people in charge of the Tourism and Hospitality Association of Guyana (THAG) are launching their own campaign with a twist.

It is to be known as Paint Up Guyana in which paint would be made available to anyone at discount prices from certain businesses including National Hardware store on Water Street, starting November 13, 2006.

Very laudable but more details need to be forthcoming such as what colours are to be available and in what quantities.

The organisation has to do more follow up work and not by mounting seminars and workshops.

It's deeds not words that are needed at this particular time.

Finally‚€¦an enquiry about the Environment Protection Agency. Is it still in existence and relevant, and what support would forthcoming for the cabinet clean-up campaign? Let's hear from you