Some of those who have a vested interest in a clean city did not attend the meeting at City Hall

Dear Editor,
After a call by Mr Joseph Harmon MP for a massive clean-up campaign of the city of Georgetown, made at the recently concluded General Council of the Peoples National Congress Reform (PNCR), a meeting was held at the chambers of the Mayor and City Council. Several letters were sent to all of the stakeholders, inviting them to a meeting on Friday, December 7, 2012 at City Hall. The meeting was well attended and many of the invitees including the Diplomatic Corps were in attendance.

Editor, I was extremely disappointed that some of the stakeholders that have a vested interest in a clean and beautiful capital city chose for one reason or another not to attend. The most glaring absentees were representatives of the Ramotar administration. There were no government representatives, even though the central government happens to be the largest single tenant of the city. The Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) was also absent and the captains of industry also chose not to attend.

It is a sad legacy that everything in Guyana seems to be tainted by politics, and community initiatives that serve us all seem to be trivialized by those who should be at the forefront of such activities. Editor, it will take a coordinated effort by all of the stakeholders for the City of Georgetown to be restored to its former glory. The religious community was another stakeholder that was absent. The Joint Services, especially the Guyana Defence Force, were noticeably absent. The only service in attendance was the Prison Service. The GDF once dubbed the ‘people‘s army‘ was instrumental in past clean-up campaigns and possesses the skills set at the officer and non-commissioned officer level, necessary for coordinating and controlling such a massive exercise.

When it comes to cleaning up our environment, politics should take a back seat. It is commendable that the government has ordered the drainage and irrigation teams to mount a clean-up lasting three days. However, what we are looking at is a massive clean-up exercise that will ensure that all ten wards of the city are scrubbed clean. We are talking about bringing in machinery to clean the drains and brush-cutters to clear the alleyways, sidewalks and public spaces that have become overgrown with grass and bush. We are talking about education and public awareness campaigns, so that the dialogue can begin, and the re-education of our citizenry about civic responsibility, cleanliness, proper garbage disposal, re-cycling and civic pride started. This is a perfect opportunity for the government, the political opposition and the private sector to come together and show some leadership. Georgetown is an embarrassment; it stinks, and in some places is terribly unsightly. This is the capital city of our nation, and if we cannot put politics aside and clean up what should be a proud symbol of our nation, then we are truly lost.

Editor, I hope that the media will play its part in the re-education of our people from the bad habits which have caused us to become slovenly. I hope that, at the conclusion of this exercise the city council will build on the facelift and enact enforceable laws to deal with the garbage and drainage problem facing the city. A functioning and well-funded constabulary and municipal court system that deals specifically with code enforcement, zoning and city related matters, will be a good start. As a resident of the city, I applaud this initiative and call on all those who live and work in Georgetown to get involved in cleaning it up.
Yours faithfully,
Mark Archer

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