Over the years, the Government has always intervened in the garbage crisis facing Georgetown. As a matter of fact, the Head of State himself, Dr Irfaan Ali, can be seen around the City helping with cleanup as he leads the several clean-up campaigns.
This example set by the President has had ripple effect as it has been replicated countrywide in what is now known as “Operation Clean-up”.
The City of Georgetown has a rich history of attractiveness through cleanliness and aesthetics among other things. Those more advanced in age will be able to authenticate that beauty. During that memorable period, when the City was much more pleasing to the eye and with that standard sustained, there was also a profound sense of order that seemed to naturally unfold.
The Government’s intervention, however, in the City is not unexpected, as Georgetown’s garbage situation is always a dilemma. As a matter of fact, Government has had to pump millions into the always cash-strapped City Hall. Had this not been done on many occasions, then private garbage collectors would not have been paid. This, however, is the regular band-aid solution to one of the City’s major problems. The long-term solution is ousting an inefficient Council that has been at the helm of the City’s administration. The explanation proffered, that City dwellers will unfortunately have to bear with the Mayor and City Council for longer than expected in the absence of local government elections – as it seems like GECOM will not to be able to pull off these elections by March – is wholly overbearing.
City dwellers do not have to endure an inefficient Council, not when they have a way to correct the situation.
Year after year, City Hall has come in for heavy criticism over the management of its finances.
Sometime ago, the Local Government and Regional Development Minister raised questions regarding accountability for the $300 million Restoration Fund which was contributed for the restoration of the dilapidated City Hall building. As it is now, if one passes the area, they have finally started renovating the dilapidated structure. The iconic City Hall structure had become an eyesore.
This publication had reported, on his part, the Local Government Minister has accused City Hall of “gross incompetence and mismanagement”. It could be recalled also that the M&CC and then the APNU+AFC Government had embarked on a massive City-wide clean-up campaign in Georgetown and its environs.
While these efforts produced fairly good results regarding the general appearance of the City and its environs, the political Opposition at the time (PPP) and other stakeholders had raised questions in relation to the contracts awarded to carry out the works.
The mere fact that M&CC sees it fit on several occasions – with the past and present Government – to be asking for millions of tax payers’ dollars as bail out from its financial woes is enough reason for the Administration to act in the public’s interest.
Perhaps, a reason why the M&CC seems to think that it can always depend on Central Government for a bailout is because it is under no pressure to perform. The leniency that has been afforded the Council must stop if there is to be any improvements at City Hall.
Georgetown’s real problem is not the garbage; the real problem is the Council, and its inability to properly manage the financial affairs of the City.
Local elections are to be held soon, and wary residents and other citizens crave for the City to return to its glory days. Time will reveal if things will change if that party were to win, or if a new dispensation beckons. One way or the other, those residing in the Capital crave improved services and the country a true Garden City.