Monday, September 21, 2009

President dismisses Mayor’s garbage pile-up claims as ‘lame’

- his proposals as ‘two-by-two’

President Bharrat Jagdeo has dismissed as spurious, claims by Georgetown Mayor, Mr. Hamilton Green, that the government is to be blamed for the insanitary state the city is in, particularly with regard to the garbage pile-up in recent weeks.

Speaking at a press briefing Friday on the lawns of his official State House residence, the President did not seem inclined to waste much breath on the matter, except to say that City Hall was up to its old tricks as usual, or words to that effect, and that anyone with even a modicum of commonsense would recognise that the problems the entity is facing are being caused by poor leadership, inefficiency and lack of accountability on their own part.

Noting that he was well aware of the problems facing the city, the President dismissed initiatives put forward by Green perhaps to remedy the situation as “ two-by-two,” saying they were not enough to raise even a fraction of the money the Government spends on the City.

“If you look at every road in the City … Campbellville, Main Street, Robb Street, Lamaha Street, Regent Street, Norton Street … almost every road has been fixed by Central Government to the tune of billions of dollars, “ he said, adding: “Every year, we fix all the roads in the city …”

Listing the number of things the government has done over the years to help City Hall meet its obligations, President Jagdeo said: “We bought pumps and transferred those to the City; we paid for drainage and irrigation; we have hired a few hundred people, who are working in drainage and irrigation in the city; we have paid for the dumpsite; we have bailed them out in the past; we are spending US$10M on creating a new dumpsite; we pay the largest taxes in the city… all of these have been done in the past. We even announced a $120M help to them just to cut grass and they can’t efficiently implement that.”

Noting that clearly, the City Council cannot manage the programmes at reference, President Jagdeo also said he knew all about the “cozy deals” it has had with some contractors in the past, and about the system whereby citizens had to pay for the disposal of garbage by weight, when in fact the refuse loaded onto the trucks was never ever weighed.

“So I just see as lame the excuse that Hamilton Green is making; he is from a different era, and clearly, I am not working with him,” he told reporters.

He said however that if Opposition Leader, Mr. Robert Corbin, is in favour of getting a group of decent citizens to take over the management of the City, he will support his decision.

He was yesterday scheduled to meet with Deputy Mayor, Mr. Robert Williams, other officials of the Council, Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh, Local Government Minister, Mr. Kellawan Lall and Transport and Hydraulics Minister, Mr. Robeson Benn to see what can be done to help the City and its citizens. There was no mention of his wanting to meet with Green, whom he earlier inferred had outlived his usefulness, or to use his own words: “…the now obsolete Mayor of Georgetown.”

What he did say was: “I at least have to work with the people in the City Council who are a little decent and hardworking to see what further assistance can be given to the City.”

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