We are in receipt of numerous complaints from the business community and private individuals, that there has been a further deterioration in the rhythm of garbage collection in the city ‒ a drive along Mandela Avenue tells a sad story.
Our precarious financial situation is no secret and we have expressed great disquiet since there seems to be a well-orchestrated process of misinformation being peddled to the effect that the council’s financial situation under the present administration has improved. This fallacy has been initiated by the acting Town Clerk, Ms Carol Sooba and Mr Junior Garrett, Chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee.
There is no evidence to support this false claim. At best, it is a philosophy which determines that you fail to satisfy your financial obligations and then shout that you are in good financial standing. If you don’t pay your bills, certainly you will have money. We have not paid NIS for August-November 2011, also due for this month; workers are being sent out without protective gear, water and tools; vehicles are laid up for lack of spares; the principal offices are without basic stationery, a fax machine, a photocopying machine and other printing facilities; and broken windows can be seen in the City Hall compound. These are mere examples of this folly.
Recently, there has been a deliberate and worrisome process of not satisfying the basic needs of the municipality, in particular, a refusal to pay a major solid waste contractor. The Town Clerk and Chairman of the Finance Committee must say if the withholding of these payments is personal, political or owing to lack of money.
We acquired two Compactors 3 months ago, which were intended to relieve the present pressure of the garbage collection system. Due to the attitude of the Sooba-controlled administration, these Compactors are still idle and a symbol of disgrace; they are like green statues to the east of the mayoral complex off Charlotte Street for all to see.
In addition to the two compactors not being put into use, the administration of the council has failed to put in place appropriate procedures to ensure that trucks and ancillary equipment are functioning. Worse, there is evidence that the Town Clerk (ag) is imposing her will on the workshop to determine who is brought in to effect repairs to some of our vehicles.
The tragedy of all this is that with the apparent support of the Ministers of Local Government, the acting Town Clerk is now a law unto herself. We hope that this assault on time-honoured tradition and democratic principles is brought to a swift end with local government reform.
Recent events highlight this unbelievable environment in which we are called to serve citizens. The Town Clerk (ag) no longer deems it necessary to communicate with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Councillors as a whole.
The absurdity of the acting Town Clerk’s attempt to treat the Deputy Mayor as one of her subordinate employees is ludicrous and typical, but true.
We apologize to the public for the inconvenience but the solution is for government to act honourably.
First, relieve the municipality of an acting Town Clerk, whose behaviour is at best described as strange; second, advertise to fill the vacancy as promised earlier this year. Third, allow the duly elected Mayor and Councillors to at least make some decisions that the Town Clerk will feel obliged to carry out. Finally, prevail on the President to assent to the four Local Government Bills recently passed in parliament so that the reform process can commence before the end of this quarter. This will facilitate the establishment of a credible Local Government Commission to deal with errant officers and allow the municipality to be guided and managed by competent, qualified and rational public servants.
For example: proposals to ameliorate conditions in the Le Repentir Cemetery were submitted to the acting Town Clerk earlier this year. But so far, this has not been brought to the attention of the Mayor and Councillors.
Once again, we apologize and hope that all stakeholders will raise their voices to encourage the powers that be to begin the process of local government reform and the restoration of our capital city and allow the return of that pride we once had of living in the Garden City of Georgetown, bereft of garbage, grime and crime.