Georgetown clean-up will not be handled by city council – Whittaker

Local Government Norman Whittaker yesterday said that he would have to be “dumb and stupid” to give the City Council the $500 million that had been allocated to clean up Georgetown.

“I can’t… I am not about to make funds available to City Council when the information, the records in my possession tell me that they have been misspending public funds. I have got to be dumb and stupid to make those funds available to them. I am not going to,” he said.

In March, during the budget presentation, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh had said that $1 billion will be spent on a countrywide clean-up campaign and $500 million of this would go towards enhancing the general physical environment of the capital.

Local Government Norman Whittaker speaking to the media outside the Council Chambers yesterday after exiting the Statutory Meeting. (GINA photo)
Local Government Norman Whittaker speaking to the media outside the Council Chambers yesterday after exiting the Statutory Meeting. (GINA photo)

Whittaker also flayed City Mayor Hamilton Green for ignoring him at the council’s statutory meeting, stating that his only reason for being there was to engage the councillors on matters affecting them. Whittaker and his officers walked out of the meeting as Green was dealing with announcements coming out of the council.

Green however told Stabroek News immediately following the statutory meeting that “I did not know the minister was there. I would have acknowledged him at the end of my announcements. Councillor Sobers brought it to my attention that he was there.”

PPP Councillors Victor Sobers and Kamla Devi Ross also lambasted the mayor for not acknowledging the presence of the minister arguing that if it was any other minister he would have done so at the commencement of the meeting.

Meanwhile, the minister proceeded to tell media operatives that he had written to the mayor asking that he be allowed to engage the council on the issues.

“He responded by way of email saying that the meeting was in order. That is why I am here today,” Whittaker said. He added, “The Deputy Mayor sent a hard copy of a letter suggesting the 30th. I said to her that ‘I didn’t write you I wrote the Mayor and he has responded positively’,” he said

However, Green said that because of events that transpired on Saturday at a public forum which both he and the minister attended, “I kept the position that we will see him on the 30th.”

Whittaker also said that he had wanted to give the councillors a chance to discuss concerns they had, including the problem with councillors not being paid their stipends. “…Problems with respect to the mayor’s fuel, with respect to the councillors and their stipends and most importantly with respect to the services they should be providing and are not providing. We are trying to help the council,” he said.

Whittaker also blasted the council for the time spent on dealing with trivial matters.

“What you have here is a demonstration of what City Council spends its time doing. About 50 minutes dealing with semantics, nothing productive,” he said.

“They have spoken nothing about what role they could play. They didn’t even ask me a question about what more they can do. All they talking about is a t that wasn’t crossed in the minutes or a word that has some other meaning. They are wasting the taxpayers’ money… Look the Deputy Mayor spending 40 minutes talking what I consider to be foolishness,” he added.

Whittaker, also speaking on the forum that was held on Saturday, said that Green had asked an irrelevant question which he ignored. “He uses this forum seeing my presence to bring it up again,” the minister added.

Meanwhile, a source close to City Hall said that the minister ought to have engaged councillors at a different forum. He should not have attempted to use the statutory meeting, in the presence of officers and members of the public to discuss such matters, the source added, noting that the council had written to the minister several times and he had not responded.

Responding to Whittaker’s statement that the council misuses funds, the source said: “Who could misuse money more than the government itself? One only has to look at the concerns expressed in the local dailies to see who is really misusing money. Let the minister bring the evidence then. He must say that Sooba’s misappropriation of $500,000 was not evidence of misuse of council funds. He has not said a word about the $500,000…”

Meanwhile, Green also said that any misuse or misappropriation of funds was as a direct result of acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba who has been imposed on the council. “She controls the money,” he said.

More in Local News

The car, PSS 1236 after it stuck the three victims.

Driver in accident with St Lucian cubs jailed for 10 months

The police today said that the driver of the motor vehicle who was involved in an accident with two St Lucian cub scouts has been jailed for 10 months.

default placeholder

Draft bill sees state assets recovery via civil proceedings

The draft State Assets Recovery Bill 2016 envisages non-conviction based, civil recoveries of property over $10m with a 12-year limitation period and wide powers will be available to the agency to be set up under the law to gather information.

Raphael Trotman

Gov’t will not be ‘lectured to in the press’ on forest concessions, Trotman says

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Raphael Trotman yesterday said that the government will not be “lectured” to in the press on the issue of forestry concessions, while announcing that the arrival of officials from a company in China that may take over the operations of the controversial Baishanlin is being awaited.

Black Bush murder victims laid to rest: Rice farmer, Pawan Chandradeo, 37; his fifteen-year-old son, Jaikarran Chandradeo, both of 163 Mibicuri North, Black Bush Polder and his brother-in-law Naresh Rooplall, 33, of Number 75 Village, Corentyne were yesterday laid to rest following an emotional funeral. They were buried at the Babu John Cemetery, Port Mourant. The trio were found dead on Friday, less than a day after they had left to go on a fishing trip in Black Bush Polder. Intense investigations are underway into the murders. Photo shows the caskets of the three victims and part of the crowd that gathered.

Black Bush triple murder suspects brought to city

Seven men, including the main suspect who was arrested in connection with the Black Bush Polder, Corentyne triple murder were transported to Georgetown on Tuesday evening and are currently being questioned by ranks from the Criminal Investigation Department’s (CID), Major Crimes Unit.

Anthony Jhagroo

Bulletin issued for suspect in murder of mechanic

The police yesterday issued a  bulletin for Anthony Jhagroo, who is wanted for questioning in relation to two offences: escaping from lawful custody and the murder of mechanic, Yugeshwar Shiwcharan.

default placeholder

Five cops under close arrest over stolen gold

Five police officers attached to the Brickdam Police Station are currently under close arrest after they allegedly stole a quantity of raw gold from some miners last Friday.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: