The current situation at the Georgetown City Council appears to be one in which the tail, as it were, is attempting to wag the dog. The clear act of defiance by both the Mayor and the Town Clerk towards directives issued to the council by the relevant Minister, Mr Ronald Bulkan is symptomatic of a bigger conflict at the leadership level between the APNU and it junior coalition partner the AFC on the one hand, and within the leadership of the APNU on the other.
It is evident that the AFC councillors are taking positions on important issues that are diametrically divergent to those of the APNU. This is seen in the position taken on the matter of the parking meters and more recently on the Bel Air playground which the council is bent on utilizing in part to construct housing for its top executives, including the Mayor and the Town Clerk.
This issue is turning out to be a major embarrassment to the Granger administration as was made public in a letter to the Mayor by the subject Minister Ronald Bulkan. The Minister, no doubt in an attempt to strengthen his arm against a defiant Mayor, felt obliged to invoke the concerns of the PNC central executive on the issue of the playground.
The fact is that unless and until President Granger himself intervenes on the matter, it is unlikely that the Mayor will give credence to any directive from Minister Bulkan who is regarded in party circles as a political lightweight when compared to the likes of Oscar Clarke who until recently was General Secretary of the PNC and who from all appearances still exerts enormous influence in the council. Mayor Green herself is a senior member of the PNC and is therefore unlikely to take kindly to any instructions emanating from someone she regards as a party neophyte.
The council is losing credibility among the citizens of Georgetown due in no small measure to its failure to honour statutory obligations such as payments to NIS and PAYE on behalf of its employees, not to mention its inability to pay wages and salaries in a timely manner.
The decision to build luxury homes for the Mayor and the Town Clerk in the face of such dire financial constraints is not only mind boggling but highly repugnant, especially when seen against the background of the council’s inability to meet its financial obligations even at the most basic of levels, including payments to contractors to remove garbage.
As the local and municipal elections draw nearer and nearer, one can look forward to more political theatrics in the council and its dealings with the central government. In the meantime, citizens in the city and its environs continue to live in hope of a cleaner and safer Georgetown.