Sadly the PPP/C government has continued to allow the Sooba debacle to cast a dark cloud over the Georgetown City Council. The ongoing charade exposes the administration’s vindictiveness, incompetence, stupidity, lawlessness and disrespect for the people of Georgetown and the larger Guyanese community. What this government has done through the Minister of Local Government, is once again to put its partisan political agenda above the people of Georgetown and the country. Foolishly, they believe that milking the Sooba issue will in some way create a damning indictment of the PNCR, their chief political rival, and the Mayor of Georgetown. In their minds, allowing Georgetown to swirl in a pool of
controversy will be beneficial to the PPP/C at the time of local government elections. They foolishly believe that the residents of Georgetown are naïve enough to hand over the management of the capital city to the PPP/C. How else can you explain the government’s decision to sacrifice the management of the nation’s capital in order to protect an incompetent Town Clerk appointed by the regime?
The court ruled Ms Sooba’s appointment as town clerk not legitimate; the councillors voted against Ms Sooba sitting as town clerk; the market vendors picketed and denounced Ms Sooba; so why then should she remain town clerk when she has been rejected in these significant ways. In a true democracy the people rule, and in this case the residents of Georgetown have spoken through the votes cast against Ms Sooba by the councillors. Georgetown is not a PPP/C football and should not be treated in this manner.Last week we read reports that the council’s statutory meeting could not be held because Ms Sooba locked the doors to the room where the meeting was supposed to have been held. Councillors also reported that unsavoury characters are acting as Ms Sooba’s bodyguards, and the view is they are intended to intimidate. Sadly, Ms Sooba seems to be enjoying this entire charade. I do not know who – apart from Freedom House and the Local Government Minister – is advising Ms Sooba, but what I do know is that whatever advice is being given is only helping to tarnish her more. I hope that someone who is concerned about her welfare would help her to see that there is no dignity in what she is doing or being asked to do. There is no decency in hanging on to public office when the public has in multiple ways rejected you; there is no honour is allowing yourself to be used as a political tool. If Ms Sooba has any sense left she will do the logical thing and tender her resignation to the people; this would certainly gain her some dignity. It is time the PPP/C government allowed this woman to regain some self-respect.
What is unfortunate is that the government has decided to work against enhancing the very tourism atmosphere they like to boast about. How can tourists be attracted to Guyana for a vacation when the government has made a deliberate attempt to launch an assault on the country’s main tourist hub? Where is the Minister of Tourism? Is there no concern on his part for what is happening at the Georgetown City Council? The question is who wants to travel to a tourist destination where the main attraction is a pile of garbage and mosquitoes? The PPP/C has effectively turned the city into a garbage dump by starving the city council of much needed funds to effectively execute its garbage disposal programme. This state of affairs has also resulted in the severe flooding of the city owing to clogged drains and overgrown bushes, a perfect recipe for dengue fever and other mosquito associated illnesses. Mosquitoes have taken over the city like never before, and as one person said to me you have to eat with one hand and “clap mosquitoes” with the other. The Le Repentir Cemetery has also become a dumping ground for the bodies of murder victims.
There is often a confrontation between the constabulary forces and market vendors and stall holders, and a face-off between the Town Clerk (ag) and Mayor and Council and Town Clerk (ag). There are petty squabbles such as no register being available for councillors to sign in attendance at council meetings; the Sooba accusation that the Mayor referred to her as an ‘interloper’; and that the Mayor did not allow her to say prayers or acknowledge her. Then there is the cancellation of statutory meetings, even though councillors are present. There were also other issues such as the local government minister’s intrusion into the affairs of the council. When will this madness stop? Will the people of Georgetown sit and allow this government to ruin their habitat? Will the people of Guyana take a stand and reverse this implosion of the capital city? Georgetown belongs to the people of Guyana not Ms Sooba and the PPP/C; it is time to take a stand.