The city has a crisis of administration and management

Dear Editor,

If the Guyana Chronicle’s article, ‘Calls grow for King’s removal’ (Feb 15) with regard to recent correspondence from Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan to Mayor of Georgetown Patricia Chase-Green is accurate, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, I welcome the Minister’s wise counsel, and hope the Mayor acquiesces to giving the information the Minister has requested.

Editor, while I agree with our subject Minister in principle, my only reservation here would be that all the information necessary might not be forthcoming, especially since the very information being sought has the potential of indicting the suppliers. I will not be brash to suggest culpability or complicity by any means in relation to any individual. But what would the reasonable man think?

Additionally, while I dare not impugn the noble office of the Minister or his wisdom on such matters, my own humble reading of such delicate issues suggests that no reasonable person would want to incriminate themselves.

As I have said before, local government elections 2016 and subsequently, there is a dire need for an independent, complete financial audit of City Hall. Information indicates that we the ‘new’ Councillors inherited $180 million in our city coffers, and from that time to now, even with numerous financial injections from central government, City Hall records billion dollar debts currently with no end in sight.

The Auditor General’s Report to the National Assembly on the spending of funds of the Georgetown Restoration Programme left a great deal to be desired in terms of the council’s financial and accounting system. And with the $200 million earmarked for the city in the 2018 Budget I am not confident the people of our beloved city will feel the full benefit if we put new wine in old wine skins.

Editor, I have offered before that we ought to sit down as a council and construct a business plan for the city, but we need to know where we were and where we are, before we can know where were ought to be heading. We need, as is said colloquially, to ‘ketch our bearings’.

Having the right information, accurate information would be a good compass. And this city with its latent potential, to be a real international city, needs a better captain. Let me be clear: at this point, I am not interested in the job as much as I am ready to exert more energy at the oars and chart a new course with my fellow Councillors. The potential and promise of City Hall must become performance, must become reality.

That our Minister had to require “a complete list of all contracts, leases, sales, and any other transactions involving assets (real estate, equipment, etc) under the control of council, between the dates of assuming office in April 2016 to the present,” tells us of the gravity of the situation and locates for us where we are.

This is a crisis of administration and management. We have a crisis of leadership. When a billion dollar company is failing the board does not fire all the workers, it fires the management and brings in new people to turn things around. It is time!

I believe our government will understand the fierce urgency of the moment. The Town Clerk has disqualified himself, by his own actions, from playing any meaningful role in the city going forward. We must act.

Yours faithfully,

Sherod Avery Duncan

City Councillor

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