Critical need for a Commission of Inquiry into the workings of City Hall

Dear Editor,

When will someone in authority realize that there is a critical need for a Commission of Inquiry to be held into the workings of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown? 

Over the years there have been so many scandals, acts of unethical behaviour and outrageous wrongdoings that have either been swept under the carpet or condoned, that most persons have lost count, but how much longer must the citizens of our capital, be subjected to having to pay their property rates, market fees, licence fees, etc, when the Council’s books are not audited and when there is no system at the Council that tracks and controls their income and expenses?  

If one were to just look at the Georgetown Abattoir, one would have to investigate the stun gun fiasco, where lots of money was spent to purchase captive bolt pistols most of which were not in accordance with what was required, whilst animals were slaughtered in a brutish way. Then there is the lack of a scalding barrel or tank for boiling water and other basic equipment needed for the slaughtering operation, all a disgrace. 

Just a stone’s throw up the road, as they would say, on Water Street, one encounters the City Constabulary Training School, established not so long ago to impart training to the new entrants of the Constabulary, along with other courses, including refresher courses. It now appears abandoned and derelict with a leaky roof, windows and doors missing and littered with a few old beds and other furniture. What a shame! There should be an investigation into how this building fell into such disrepair in such a short period of time. 

The condition of the waterfront area of the Stabroek Market where the roof keeps collapsing, along with the pier in precarious state, should be the subject of another investigation. What does the Council do with the stall rents it collects from the Stabroek Market stallholders? Spend it on overseas trips? And why is it awaiting the central government to repair it? Is the Stabroek Market and its precincts not the property of the Council? 

And the dilapidated City Hall building? Listening to officials of the City Council one would conclude that the maintenance of that beautiful building was not the responsibility of the Council and  that they woke up one morning like Rip Van Winkle to find the building in that state. It is mind boggling that they would be waiting for foreign missions, central government, foreign aid agencies and the local business sector to fund the repairs of their headquarters. If the City Council had been performing routine maintenance on the building each year for the last 25 years as they should have doing, then the building would have been in a pristine state, and the whopping US$4.3 million bill currently being touted would have been less than half.  As they say, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. 

There are the scandals about the Bel Air Park playfield and the Farnum Ground, the authorized new building going up where the Kitty Abattoir once stood, the beauticians who were dumped on Merriman’s Mall, the purported Presidential Park, the inordinate delays in the construction of the Kitty Market, the robberies in the municipal markets, the disappearance of firearms and the brutalization of juveniles and other citizens by the City Constabulary, debts to GRA, NIS, GPL, GTT and the credit unions, etc, the feather bedding at the Council and the lack of an audit of the Council’s financial systems for decades and so much more.

And finally, what is preventing the Minister from sending the Town Clerk on his accumulated leave?

Could we please have a CoI at City Hall? 

Yours faithfully,

Modi Sankar

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