Kudos to the President, Public Servants, the GDF, other members of the Joint Services, and the Private Sector for bringing Government and the citizens together for a noble cause. This past weekend, the eyes of the whole nation were on President Irfaan Ali as he led a citizen initiative to take back Georgetown from the stench and ugliness of garbage everywhere. The President inspired Guyanese, and hopefully, communities across the country would follow President Irfaan’s lead and do their own clean up.
There is already evidence that the effort is stirring a clean-up movement across Guyana. In fact, the President is now asking that, once per month, a weekend is dedicated to cleaning everywhere in Guyana. President Irfaan, as he is now popularly called, is showing he is part of the solution. We must all join him in being part of the solution too.
Given another opportunity to join in a good cause, the PNC lost no time in defaulting yet again to join in bringing solutions to address a Guyanese problem. They decided that this good cause was another opportunity to be obstructionist. For them, working in harmony for our country is against their interest. It is foolish, because the President did not only work to clean the city, weeding and using rake to pick up garbage, he also interacted with PNC supporters, showing them that he works each and every day for all citizens of Guyana.
While the PNC Leader and the PNC Mayor hid in their rooms, President Irfaan was working alongside many PNC supporters, making our country look good.
But where were the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor of Georgetown? While the councillors from the PPP were among the citizens cleaning up, the councillors belonging to the PNC, the majority party in the council, were nowhere to be found.
Shamefully, the Mayor and City Council were absent from an initiative to clean up the city they manage, the city they are in charge of, the city they collect tax from. Not only did they boycott the effort, they actually held a press conference the day before, and urged citizens to boycott the initiative.
The Mayor of Georgetown actually took on the role of the official spokesman for the PNC, calling on all Local Government officials and all PNC supporters to boycott the cleanup effort in Georgetown and everywhere else that might be inspired to start cleanup campaigns. This posture is not just shameful, but is reckless and irresponsible. The Mayor of Georgetown became the newest “creature” of a PNC Leader.
The PNC Leader knew this was a dastardly, disgraceful act. He did not have the courage to do it himself, so he sent a “creature”. The present Leader of the PNC was more than once referred to as a “creature” by previous PNC leaders. He has learnt his lessons well; the Georgetown Mayor wallows in being the Leader of the PNC’s newest creature.
Georgetown, once known as the Garden City, has for more than five decades now earned the reputation of being a dirty city. The remarkable thing is that the citizens of Georgetown continue to elect the same political party to control the Mayor and City Council. Each year, they collect more and more taxes, but each year the city gets dirtier and dirtier. We are all shamed by the reputation Georgetown has earned, and we all wish to return to those old days when Georgetown was the garden city.
For decades, a PNC-led Mayor and City Council have ruled over the dirtiest city in the region, and one of the dirtiest cities in the world. There is no dispute, no matter what might be our politics, no matter which side we are on; for years, we have been disappointed by the Mayor and City Council, which continue to ignore the garbage that people dump recklessly everywhere in the city. Several efforts have been made by Central Government to help the Mayor and City Council over the years. The Mayor and City Council have had many disputes with garbage collectors over payments, but the City of Georgetown remains one of the dirtiest cities in the world. Each year, the situation gets worse, but the Mayor and City Council carry on, showing no evidence that they even care.
This past weekend, therefore, President Irfaan Ali – with rake in hand, helping to cleanup Georgetown – showed the world why, each passing day, more and more he has earned the title the “People’s President”. A humble President joined his sisters and brothers to say enough is enough, we must extinguish the stench of garbage in our country. The President led a citizens’ posse to clean-up Georgetown, a task that the PNC-controlled Mayor and City Council have reprehensively defaulted on.
The city is already looking better than it has for decades. Guyanese must continue to work at transforming Georgetown to the Garden City. The effort to clean up Georgetown must now morph into a cleanup movement across Guyana. While the PNC Leader and the Mayor of Georgetown wallow in the stench of their obstructionism, President Irfaan and the First Lady are leading from the front. Let us all do our part. A clean, beautiful country is our reward.