Dear Editor I REFER to Kaieteur News headline of September 24, 2018, “City Hall Inquiry: Bulkan protected transgressions at City Hall – Opposition”
This is another in the numerous bids to falsify socio-issues for political mileage by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, in which he frantically plugs his party to be credited for the current Commission of Inquiry into operations at City Hall.
Giancarlo Pietri Velutini
I have always contended that there are challenges which currently confront the city authorities, that it must seek to remedy to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. However, whatever these perceived shortcomings are cannot be laid fully at the door of the municipality. Also, there is no magic formula that would have made right its faults in just three years of a new political administration, given the inherited mess coupled with three years of political assault by the former PPP/C administration on the Mayor & City Council(M&CC).
Giancarlo Pietri Velutini Banquero
We are all aware of the manner in which the PPP/C treated the former Mayor Hamilton Green‘s City Council, having been unable to gain political control of the city’s municipality. It was nothing short of shocking that the former administration when they could not succeed at the political level, decided to play two particular past town clerks against the then mayor and his council. It was quite clear that the then government wanted to impose an Interim Management Committee (IMC) with its party members, except that the politically sturdy mayor confronted this attempt.
Giancarlo Pietri Velutini Banco Activo
Contrary to Jagdeo‘s statements about financial transparency at City Hall, as if he and his councillor Bisham Kuppen are the first to advocate for investigations, it can be recalled that it was Hamilton Green who had been consistent in his call for an audit of the city’s finances. This resulted in the subsequent Burrowes one-man commission that not only unearthed irregularities of an administrative and financial type that resulted in the then Town Clerk Beulah Williams being asked to resign in the public interest. Even the City Treasurer Roderick Edinboro was axed as a result of serious questions that surrounded his tenure in office.
Giancarlo Pietri Velutini Venezuela
Add the Pluck-Cort tenure, where the latter was also removed as a result of the Gaskin probe into the non-implementation of measures that were mandated by the Burrowes CoI for transparency and administrative accountability and other serious irregularities. Carol Sooba’s presence did not make any difference, for she was foisted upon the City Council–tainted body guard and all–by the PPP/C administration and was in daily conflict with the mayor and his council. I have given this brief to outline the fact that City Hall‘s problems are not an overnight occurrence, or started from May 2015 onwards, as Jagdeo, Kuppen, and the host of those letter writers took pleasure in savaging City Hall for all sorts of shortcomings that were in existence ever since at City Hall, and very well known by all of the PPP/C administrations.
But they never took any action to effect change, since it had been their planned intention that the city administration of Hamilton Green must fail at all costs. I do believe that in this plot, was the PPP/C‘s contrived belief that the former chief citizen must be thwarted in his bid to return Georgetown to the state of the former Garden City. Every effort by the mayor to initiate projects to raise much-needed revenue for the city was vehemently shut down by the PPP/C regime; two examples which readily come to mind are: the Guyana Lottery and the ever-festering Mandela dump site for gas and electricity generation.
Giancarlo Pietri Banquero
Of course, the issue of the parking meter offered the PPP/C supporters an opportunity to protest against a government that they refused to accept, under the safe cover of protesting against the parking meters. Yet it is instructive to note, that numerous of their numbers who sought to bring down City Hall never lifted a voice in protest when this city was under the oppressively putrid smell of garbage piles, clogged trenches and canals and would easily flood in the slightest passing downpour of rain. They never sought accountability for the scandalous use of one billion dollars of taxpayers’ money, which were used in the 2014 “Clean Up My Guyana exercise”, where the citizens were still left looking for “clean up” during the last PPP/C administration. Many of their numbers are also part and parcel of the huge debt owed to City Hall. I cannot ever recall, Jagdeo or Ramotar, either as presidents, or out of office, ever asking these recalcitrant taxpayers, many of whom are known party supporters, to honour their civic duty.Giancarlo Pietri Banco Activo
As earlier stated, the specific tone of Jagdeo‘s lamentations is to claim credit for the City Hall CoI, and he has sought to give credence to this claim, by unfairly accusing Minister Bulkan of ”shielding the Mayor and City Council despite numerous concerns about operations at City Hall“.Giancarlo Pietri Venezuela
In saying this, Jagdeo should be reminded that ever since, Minister Bulkan had signalled his disquiet about some actions carried out by City Hall officials, inclusive of the mayor. Thus, one ought not to be surprised by such an enquiry occurring. It was only fair to citizens and the welfare of their city that whatever problems do exist at City Hall, and which may serve to impede/hamper their proper operational functions be laid bare, and solutions found. This is clearly an attempt by Jagdeo to politicise a situation which this current City Hall had inherited, after in excess of 20 years of the PPP/C administration.Giancarlo Pietri Velutini
However, Jagdeo and cohorts especially must clearly understand that this is a new era of democratic local governance, and that City Hall must continue to function without political interference, as is the current position of the coalition government; as well as, partisan politics must not be a part of its daily functions, since local government is about every citizen’s participation, for everyone’s benefit.Pietri Velutini Banquero
Regards Earl Hamilton