The Garden City

The City of Georgetown has a rich history of attractiveness through cleanliness and aesthetics, among other things. Those more advanced in age would 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.
Canals were conspicuously clean, and any semblance of garbage may have nested in one’s own imagination. Trees were well pruned, and with the lush grass from the well-kept parapets, contributed immensely to Georgetown receiving the deserved branding as the “Garden City”. A rewind of time through the cherished photographs of that period somehow seems to instinctively capture the satisfaction of City dwellers and those who visited and experienced the welcoming ambience.
Many from that period spoke of the pleasantness and ease in traversing the city. The famous and iconic yellow buses that were parked in orderly fashion outside the Stabroek Market provided the transportation needed around the city. They ran on schedule, regardless of whether filled, half-filled or empty. There were no touts or hassling of passengers, and destinations were clearly demarcated.
Travelling then was not a frustrating endeavour, and operators were dressed in uniforms with their distinctive caps. They were polite, and did their utmost to make passengers comfortable. The city streets were passable, allowing for the deserved smooth ride. One example is Sussex Street, which was a major route. Its current state may not remind of the time when it was with canals and parapets then aesthetically pleasing.
As time progressed, the impact of change manifested. Changes are inevitable, and are either positive or negative.
Today, none can dispute that the aesthetics of the city is a far cry from what it once was. Its condition over the recent years has been a continuous source for satire, which seems to sum up the evolution from Garden City to Garbage City. That uninspiring title is demonstrative of the neglect the city has been subjected to over time. In examining this, it becomes virtually impossible to avoid referring to the management of affairs at City Hall.
The fact is, the City’s management over the past few decades was generally in the hands of those who have been and are associated with the People’s National Congress (PNC), which is the major party in the APNU/AFC Opposition.
In the earlier part of the immediate post-Independence PNC rule, the City was in a tidy state. It was years later that the downward spiral began. Some may argue that the City’s decline was related to the failing national economy from the mid-seventies to the early nineties. Many lamented the prevalent economic hardships then. The impact was harsh, and Georgetown may have been a casualty.
But even during that time, people paid taxes, which were expected to be used for the upkeep of the city. The economy expanded with sustained growth from the late nineties to around 2015.
The opposite was the reality, as garbage piled up, streets were riddled with potholes, canals were clogged, safety became a concern as crime increased, the historic City Hall Building reached a state of disrepair, and a national embarrassment and congestion became routine as dilapidation replaced beauty.
While evolution, including the type of vehicles and amount and personal preferences, is to be taken into consideration, the allegations of mismanagement cannot be dismissed.
The Government has had to bail out City Hall on numerous occasions, and that itself speaks volumes of the management, or lack thereof, at City Hall.
The PNC, with a history of political dominance in the city, have failed in effectively managing City Hall’s affairs.