Home Letters Don’t hold your breath for a change at City Hall
After reading of the unfortunate and unpleasant experience encountered by Mr. Sahadeo Bates when he visited City Hall to pay his property rates, I felt compelled to commiserate with this gentleman – as a fellow ratepayer who had a similar, if not more adverse, experience while discharging my civic duty.
Like Mr Bates, when I entered the compound and cast my eyes on what remained of City Hall, I felt the urge to cry. I wondered what sort of depraved persons could have sat as Mayor, Deputy Mayor, and Councillors for decades, attending meetings, functions and other activities at this facility while the building fell into ruins, loosening up one chunk at a time, without attempting the most basic of repairs.
Those persons could only be described as cultural barbarians. How could they have been travelling to the furthest reaches of the world on worthless junkets, building presidential parks, having retreats to exotic resorts in the hinterland, renting portable toilets for millions of dollars to be placed at the residences of their bigwigs, putting up huge and expensive billboards around the City, and purchasing fancy sports utility vehicles while City Hall crumbled to ruins.
But in regard to the sloppy and unprofessional service and uncivil behaviour of the attending staff at City Hall, one should not be surprised by being made aware of the nepotism and cronyism that obtain in the hiring process of the Georgetown Municipality. It reminds one of the friends and family plan offered by AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile, except that this one includes political cronies, paramours, church pals, and neighbours.
It was clear to me that these rate collectors are unconcerned, or maybe even unaware, that the rates they are dithering to collect are what are being used to fund their whopping one hundred and twenty million dollars’ monthly payroll. Where did all of those millions that are placed in their yearly budget for training in customer service go?
But my primary concern and disappointment was that, in 2022, when the entire world has advanced technologically, why do the citizens of Georgetown have to pay for municipal services in line rather than online? Will they ever come out of the Dark Ages?
The saddest part of all of this is that, while the country is on a transformational trajectory, whilst everyone else is getting on the train to the new and prosperous Guyana, City Hall is doing its darndest to keep the citizens in a time warp of past life. With thousands of qualified, competent, professional and courteous persons out there looking for work, City Hall seems to have no interest in hiring them.
Local Government elections are due. Can we look forward to a change, a new dispensation, or a metamorphosis at the Georgetown Municipality? Don’t hold your breath.