It is clear that we are witnessing a heightening of the propaganda by the state to justify the imposition of a person both unqualified and incompetent for the position of Town Clerk. The height of deception is encrusted in statements by Ms Carol Ryan Sooba, in certain sections of the media, to the effect that she had signed cheques to pay staff. A statement that is also silly. It should be noted that all payments done on behalf of this municipality are a function of the City Treasurer. This is very clear in sections 76 and 149 of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01. The City Treasurer is the Chief Accounting Officer of the City Council; not the Town Clerk and certainly not Ms Sooba.
However, the imposition of this individual on the council as Town Clerk is tantamount to central government interfering in the internal affairs and management of the Mayor and City Council – a local government authority with general and specific laws, regulations and Standing Orders and rules. This interference is affecting the council’s ability to deliver vital municipal services to the citizens of Georgetown.
However, her deceptive statement ignores the fundamental challenges facing the municipality of a shortage of funds. The council does not have money to carry out basic functions in the city. Many of our garbage trucks and other vehicles have been parked in the mechanical workshop for months, because of a lack of parts and service which we cannot afford at this point in time.
It ignores the fact that workers are sent out into the field without water, basic tools and protective gear.
It ignores the disgraceful state of the cemetery, the dilapidated accommodation in the municipal markets, clogged canals and other waterways, poor garbage collection and the general responsibility of the management of the city’s solid waste.
It ignores statements made by the President of Guyana and the Minister of Local Government, over time, when they attempted to assail the Mayor and Councillors about the municipality being over-staffed.
Clearly, we have a situation where instead of settling the arrangements to hold long overdue and much needed local government elections, (elections were not held since 1994) the central government continues to pursue partisan politics where the real victims are the citizens of Georgetown who deserve and indeed are entitled to better services. Perhaps, the more damning evil of this is that the government continues to deny our young people an opportunity to be part of and to participate in the governance and management of their own local communities.
Clearly, the PPP should hang their heads in shame that an entire generation has been denied the opportunity to share in that aspect of democracy – viable local communities in which the rights of all are respected and preserved.
Mayor of the City of