Mayor of the City of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio, welcomed Georgetown Mayor, Pandit Ubraj Narine, to Gracie Mansion, on Sept. 18, where the two politicians discussed climate change and its effects on the cities of Georgetown and New York, mental health awareness, waste management and best practices, training opportunities for Georgetown municipal staff, and forge a partnership to develop Guyana’s garden city.
Twenty-seven-year-old, Narine, the youngest mayor in the region, also met New York City Commissioner for International Affairs, Penny Abeywardena and Leslie Slocum, following the conclusion of the meeting, where he agreed to submit a draft work program for cooperation between the cities of Georgetown and New York, to Mayor Blasio, who promised to work with Mayor Narine on all possible initiatives.
After the closed-door meeting, Abeywardena, who joined Mayor Narine and his delegation on the grounds of Gracie Mansion, told Caribbean Life, that it was an honor to host the mayor of Georgetown, Guyana, noting, that she had discussed with him, how powerful his office was, and the influence it can have on communities.
“We definitely want to figure out, how we could support each other, especially, with all the developments happening in Georgetown, we want to exchange best practices, especially in mental health awareness and climate change, as discussed today,” said Commissioner Abeywardena.
“It has been a very good experience for me. I am grateful that Mayor de Blasio took the time out of his busy schedule to meet us today, to discuss a partnership between New York and Georgetown,” said Mayor Narine.
“I am thankful to the Guyanese diaspora, especially, James Richmond, a very important member of Mayor de Blasio’s Clergy advisory, who arranged the meeting in a very short amount of time.”
“I would like to thank, the President of Women of Mission International, Inc., Linda Felix-Johnson, Dr. Carl Niamatali, Consul General, Barbara Atherly, Ambassador Rudolph Ten Pow, and Rickford Burke, for supporting my visit to New York,” said Mayor Ubraj, who spoke with urgency about restoring Georgetown.
“I love my Guyanese people, and I love my country, but the only way we could restore the city, is by working together,” says Mayor Narine, adding that he would do whatever it takes to bring Georgetown to its highest standard.
“I really want Georgetown to stay clean. It is this Coalition government that assisted the city council with the removal of garbage, after the previous government allowed garbage to pileup in Georgetown, but yet, I want a system in place, not for today or tomorrow, but for generations to come,” said the elected official.
He is working to recoup billions of rates and taxes, monies owed to the city of Georgetown by business people. To this end, he has sought the help of the private sector commission, and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce to have the matter resolved in an amicable way.
“People should put their country first, before making money. If you keep your place clean, you will attract tourists, who would want to visit the city. This will make your business boom,” said Mayor Ubraj, who insisted, if rates and taxes were paid-up, then the council would award contracts, and carry out projects, to up-keep Georgetown.
“I want people to know that this council inherited billions in debt, but despite that, I am out there working for my city and my people, to give them a better life, because I believe in what His Excellency, David Granger, said, ‘We are working for a better life for all Guyanese,’” he proclaimed.
Asked about naysayers who questioned his age and inexperience, Narine, a paralegal for five years, who holds a Diploma in Legal Studies from the government of Guyana as Justice Of Peace, Commissioner of Oaths to Affidavit, and is an ambassador for peace and marriage officer, said, “Mayor de Blasio, complimented me on my age. Age is just a number. I am moving forward with my vision for a better life for all Guyanese.” He thanked citizens back home for their support and reminded them, that he was in New York working in their best interest, to raise the standard of living in Georgetown.
“Let us not point fingers at each other, but work together to develop Guyana,” he added.
Reverend James Richmond, who organized the meeting, said he observed how the two mayors interacted and congratulated Mayor Narine for the stellar way he represented the City of Georgetown and the people of Guyana.
Richmond said that Bill de Blasio was the mayor of the largest city in America, yet, he was impressed with Mayor Narine, his age, and his vision for Georgetown.
“De Blasio, told Mayor Narine, whatever he needs, he would assign a Guyanese who works in his administration, and the NYPD to help with the development of Georgetown, under his (Narine’s) mayorship, and asked Mayor Narine to submit a proposal for consideration,” said Richmond.
The mayor, who held talks with various organizations in the Diaspora, also donated bottled water to the Bahamas relief effort in Brooklyn, and traveled to Tennessee, for meetings to discuss solid waste management and the importance of cleaning up the capital city.