The Hydrometeorological Office has cautioned citizens of Georgetown and Guyana as a whole to be prepared for possible flooding ahead of the impending heavy rainfall over the weekend.
According to the statement released by that office last Thursday, heavy and continuous precipitation (rain) will be observed over the next six to 36 hours throughout Guyana with the passage of a Tropical Wave, which is expected to interact with an upper level trough and sub-tropical Jet.
And what do you think the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown did to prepare the city for this? Upon receiving this alert, the very Thursday afternoon, most if not all of the senior officers packed their bags and boarded several vehicles and high tailed it out of town heading for a resort in Essequibo to spend the critical period when Guyana was expected to experience high-intensity rainfall due to a strong weather system heading towards the Atlantic coast under the guise of partaking in a leadership retreat. Unbelievable!
First of all why would a supposed cash strapped City Council need to travel out of the confines of the city carrying dozens of persons at significant cost to meet at a luxury resort? Why such extravagance? Where will they go for their next tête-à-tête, the elegant and well-regarded Spice Island Beach Resort is Grenada? This is just reckless and unnecessary expenditure that will cost the citizens. Why did they not take that money and purchase brush cutters, rakes, forks, wheelbarrows brooms, spades, weedicide, mosquito defogging chemicals, rat bait for the markets, stun guns for the Abattoir, street lights, etc? That would be better leadership than any retreat can give.
But equally egregious to the wanton squander of ratepayer’s money is the lack of conscientiousness, competency and proper management.
Even if they had arranged this junket before, upon receiving this weather warning they should have cancelled it and remained at their posts to monitor the city to ensure that all systems were working, being properly monitored, and that emergency measures put in place as the need arose.
The question to be asked is whether the Georgetown Municipality has a disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster preparedness, disaster response and disaster rehabilitation and recovery plan for the city? I doubt it. The sad thing is that no one will be hauled over the coals for this act of irresponsibility; and no one will try to stop this squander mania at City Hall. The citizens have no one to turn to for help.