City Hall’s CoI

first_imgThe decision by the Local Government Commission (LGC) to establish a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the affairs of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council since its election to office back in 2016 and even before is a most welcomed development.For years, citizens have been complaining about the mismanagement of the capital city and the fact that those who sit at the helm of power in Georgetown appear to be pursuing their own personal interests at the expense of taxpayers.While some have been venting their frustration in the mass media via letters and news articles, others have boldly taken the struggle for transparency and accountability at City Hall to social media and the streets in the form of picketing exercises and protest action.The bottom line is that residents of this once prestigious Garden City are tired of the continued corruption, high-handedness and indifference displayed by their elected representatives. They feel betrayed after being encouraged to vote in 2016’s historic elections, which no doubt saw the return of local democracy after a 20-year hiatus.And while many may not admit it, it is those very same parties – the Alliance For Change (AFC) and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) that engineered this return of local democracy within Local Authority Areas that are guilty of some of the most egregious infractions and wrongdoing. This is not to say that others like the Good Green Guyana party headed by former Mayor Hamilton Green and the People’s Progressive Party are not without blame for their infamous roles in ushering in the demise of Georgetown over the years.But this year, the situation reached the boiling point with workers, union leaders and citizens having to remind those in power that various aspects of the work programme, projects and initiatives being pursued by the current batch of Councillors and administrators were not part of the bargaining chip or the glowing manifestos presented two years ago.Residents wanted cleaner streets, better roads, newly-refurbished or constructed bridges, street lights, efficient garbage collection and disposal services, enhanced social and human services, and a reduction in taxes. While addressing the need for better building codes, better parking facilities and added areas of revenue for the city was important; they were not at the top of the list. And somehow the Council missed this and misread the mood of the people.Maybe the Patricia Chase Green-headed body believed that the AFC and APNU could do no wrong in the city because that is where its largest constituency resided and there would always be apathy on the part of residents. Surely, it knows now that any sympathy that residents had for the Council’s decision-making policies is gone with the wind.Hopefully, the CoI headed by Justice Cecil Kennard will reveal just how frustrated residents and workers of the Council are with the Council. It must invite businesses and all other stakeholders to appear and share their experiences with the Commission.Also, it is important that the CoI also give the embattled Town Clerk Royston King and his subordinate officers, the opportunity to reply to all allegations and presentations made by the residents and stakeholders. This is the only way natural justice could be guaranteed.The process must be fair, free, and open. It must not be seen as political or politically driven; therefore, the PPP must avoid getting too intimately involved. It must not escape that opposition party that there are sections of the citizenry in Georgetown who believe that the move to establish a CoI is an election ploy being directed by the Central Government and the coalition parties so that it appears that they are in tune with the concerns of the populace ahead of the Local Government Elections (LGE) polls which could deliver a blow to APNU and the AFC.Finally, Justice Kennard must seek to acquaint himself with the reports that were produced by previous CoIs under the PPP that recommended the dismissal of several officials who were shamefully stealing blatantly from the city’s treasury and poorly administrating the affairs of Georgetown. The LGC cannot allow the findings of this CoI to be wasted or thrown by the way-side. It has a mandate to act decisively and must not take direction, political or otherwise, from Central Government on what to implement and who to dismiss.Let the chips fall where they may.last_img read more