guyana-flag-wallpapers_32887_1920x1200JANUARY 28, 2016 | BY | FILED UNDER FEATURES / COLUMNISTS, PEEPING TOM

There is no doubt that Georgetown today is the cleanest it has ever been for over thirty years. It is not the cleanest it has ever been. That reputation belongs to an era that Guyana tried to bury when it gained Independence.
The new coalition government has the city looking sparkling. People are pleased. Their supporters cannot keep themselves from speaking about the transformation of Georgetown.
Credit must be given where credit is due. This is the best cleaning job the city has ever had. But it must not be presented as if the former PPP government neglected to clean the city.
In fact, just before they lost power, they had begun a massive clean-up exercise in the city, trying to get rid of more than thirty-five years of neglect. They did clean away a great deal of the overburden that was clogging the drains and canals. They transformed the jungle that was Le Repentir Cemetery into a more manageable environment. This first cleaning by the PPP administration made it easier for the present crews that are engaged in the second wave of cleaning.
But it must be acknowledged that the present crop of cleaners is doing a better job, a far better job than the cleaners did under the PPP.
The City Council has also been awakened from its two-decade- long slumber. It is almost like a miraculous rebirth. The excuse all along was that there was a lack of resources. The Council had, under the PPP, demanded new sources of revenue such as a container tax. Well, it seems to be doing just fine without these taxes and it is not getting the level of financial support for the cleaning of the city as was the case under the PPP when the Ministry of Local Government received some $500 million.
The new coalition government has voted far less for City Hall but quite amazingly the Council is still doing a fantastic job. It is left to be seen whether the Council will advise the public just what it spent on each aspect of the work it has done so far.
The government is keen to have the city clean because this year is Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary. The government wants the place looking nice so that when the expected droves of Guyanese arrive in May, they will be impressed by what they see. They are certainly not going to be impressed by the cultural presentations. The standards they are accustomed to overseas, cannot be replicated here. Therefore the side show has to compensate. The sideshow is a clean city with lots of public parks.
The cleaning therefore has to continue. The Council will find that its work is cut out. The growth of weeds is presenting a big challenge. Within weeks of cleaning one area it is overgrown. One person in city hall once boasted that a university student had given him a solution to the weed problem. It is left to be seen when that solution will be implemented.
With each cleaning the maintenance aspect will get easier. But you cannot turn around thirty five years of neglect in under one year. That is impossible and the task will be made more difficult because Local Government Elections will be held in April and by Guyana’s anniversary month, May, there will be installed a new Council, comprising mainly new Councilors.
They will need some time to transition to their new jobs. In the meantime the silt and weeds will be doing their thing. It is a long haul ahead.