Ugly city streets were telling an altogether different story

Dear Editor,

The headline at the bottom of Stabroek News’ front page was stark: `Mayor prepared to beg for return of Puran, Cevons –says city in crisis’ (SN November 15).  I agree on all counts: the contractors must return, central government has to be involved, and the city is in serious trouble.  I commend Mayor Patricia Chase-Green for following her own common sense, listening to her own instincts, and going her own way in an attempt to address the garbage removal crisis in the city; partnering with the named contractors is the constructive way to proceed.

From her choice of words and the unsparing tone in which they were delivered, it is clear that Mayor Chase-Green has had enough.  She has had enough of clever senior City Hall officials misleading her and embarrassing her in public.  Repeatedly!  They paint a rosy picture of all-encompassing schedules, schedules honoured through timely pick-up, and communities served (all of them) consistently, through related bureaucratic hymns of self-praise and self-congratulations on a job well done and well-received by a thankful populace.  Who is fooling whom here?

I say this because the job done is a far cry from those (mis)representations which I think were intended to deceive both the mayor and the public.  While these songs and dances were in full flow, the realities of the ugly city streets were telling an altogether different story from the ones peddled.  Those realities were of stranded barrels enshrined in forlorn abandonment, of growing garbage congregations in places, and of New Delhi type atmospherics and ambience.  Like I said earlier, it is a sickening ugly picture, and in more ways than one.  This is what garbage, already a week old, contributes to quality of life, when it is left to sizzle in the equatorial heat and tropical downpours.  This is a dangerous mix.

Editor, where I come from, such truth gaps on the part of the disingenuous at City Hall would have resulted in immediate firing for cause.  No more questions to be asked.  The boss must never be blindsided by unpleasant surprises, which leaves unprepared and makes that same boss look foolish, if not retarded.  It is always better to share before hard unpalatable truths in private, than to have the worst be discovered later and in front of others.  This is what is happening to the mayor, compliments of those whose philosophy is that verbal garbage is truth and accuracy, and the more of it the better.  That always returns to haunt with a vengeance and at the most unexpected times.

In addition, I was pleased to read that the prior contractors used, Messrs Puran and Cevons, are being considered for recall, should the finances prove cooperative, through sympathetic central government largesse.  Quite plainly, central government really does not have a choice on this this one.  It is almost the Christmas Season, and it had better be Silver bells, and not rotten shells or smells.  Moreover, the previous contractors did deliver an acceptable level of consistent service; I think they are well-equipped to do so again.  It is also encouraging to note that some degree of financial prudence is to be pursued and practiced through sharply renegotiated contracts.

Last, I respectfully recommend to His Excellency, President Granger that he takes a leaf (a thorny one) from the mayor’s tree and upbraid publicly those in his realm who fail to deliver through shoddy performance.  I would go further than a public excoriation: I would summarily dismiss them.  There are more than a few, and they contribute to crises still in the making; or perhaps yet to be discovered.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall

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