No decision has been made by the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) to rename any streets in Georgetown, Town Clerk Royston King and several members of the M&CC said yesterday.
Speaking with Stabroek News, King explained that a suggestion to rename several streets in the city as part of Guyana’s 50th Independence anniversary celebration was taken to the council several months ago.
“The council took a decision to have a committee set up to look into the matter. This committee, headed by the Mayor, is expected to explore the logistics related to the issue and make recommendations to the full council,” King said.
As part of its activities, the committee decided to hold a stakeholders’ consultation to allow members of the public to voice their opinion on the proposition.
“It was an exploratory meeting to raise awareness about an initiative being considered by the council,” King said.
He further stated that the council is aware that it does not have the right to make such a decision without a proper plan and broad consultations. Any such decision is also expected to account for and adhere to historical fact, importance and the protocols of preserving the rich heritage in the city.
The general public became aware of a proposal to rename several city streets after a consultation was held last Tuesday.
Chairperson of the consultation, Ron Robinson, told Stabroek News on Wednesday that attendees at the meeting proposed over 50 names for several city streets all of which were in honour of notable people past or present in Guyanese society.
However, he said, the list will be shortened to 50 given that only that amount is needed.
“We had Dave Martins, [late president] Desmond Hoyte, Edith Peters, Bill Rogers, Martin Carter, Lynette and Celeste Dolphin, Andre Subryan, Dr Yesu Persaud, `Six Head’ Lewis, Stephen Campbell …the list was long I cannot remember all at this time,” he stated.
Also speaking with Stabroek News on Wednesday Mayor Hamilton Green said that by the second week of December, at the council’s next statutory meeting, a decision on the proposals will be made.
Councillor Junior Garrett explained yesterday that the suggestion which seemed to have garnered the most censure; the one to rename the Botanical Gardens after late president Forbes Burnham actually originated from the floor and was not sanctioned or in any other way supported by Green.
“All we had were suggestions, no one put a definitive on anything. They are suggestions nothing more,” Garrett stressed.
Green had stated, “There was a proposal for the renaming of the Botanical Gardens, that whole square for that matter to be renamed the Forbes Burnham Square,”
Speculation about this suggestion was put to rest by the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, which in a statement on Thursday explained that the name of the gardens would not be changed.
“The Georgetown Botanical Gardens is part of Guyana’s National Protected Areas System, and currently falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, Ministry of the Presidency. The area has been identified for phased rehabilitation, with the first phase having already commenced,” the statement said.
Concerns continue to be raised about the cost associated with the proposed activity as well as whether there is enough time between now and May 26, 2016 to allow for a comprehensive approach to the activity.
In the meantime, King said, “The council regrets the impression that it is attempting to shadow the significance of the contributions of great souls to its capital.”