Mayor of the City of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine, during a five-day visit to New York, raised concerns with elected officials about the ongoing combat City Council faces with central government subversion, and remittance of taxes totaling billions of dollars owed to the city.
The mayor met with New York State Senator, Roxanne J. Persaud in her 19th Senatorial Brooklyn district office on July 22, to discuss these issues, as well as race relations, and how the politician could use her influence in order for citizens to be properly served.
Most relevant, is what the councilor called a lack of local democracy, and the 19th century laws he demanded politicians work together to change.
Sen. Persaud, who praised Mayor Narine for his steadfast loyalty, and willingness to work for the people, expressed worry that the Guyana government had called on the United States of America to assist with reshaping its constitution, a measure that alarmed her.
Persaud recalled, being met with hostility from Guyanese in Queens, who called for her to be sanctioned when she tried to promote unity among nationals.
The politician who was issuing a 50th Republic Anniversary Resolution on the Senate floor at the time, maintains, that she is not against the Guyana government, but insists that politicians must work together for the betterment of all citizens.
In so doing, she disclosed, that she had reached out to Democratic Senate Majority Leader, Senator Chuck Schumer, to see how best his office could assist Guyana on several important issues.
She also promised Mayor Narine, that she could meet with colleagues to finalize a delegation visit to the City of Georgetown, a trip that was being planned before the coronavirus shutdown.
In an exclusive interview with Caribbean Life, at the same time, Mayor Narine described the harsh punishment being meted out to the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) as vindictive politics, adding, that of the 600 million needed to keep the city operational, only 30 million dollars were received since the new administration took office.
Mayor Narine, who said he was happy to meet with Sen. Persaud on behalf of the City Council, noted that 2.4 billion dollars of taxes owed, but only 700 million was received, limiting the resources needed to maintain Georgetown, now being referred to as a garbage city. He also claimed that he is faced with challenges, on a daily basis.
The three-term mayor called on central government to play a pivotal role, working alongside the city council to better serve the people of Georgetown.
“This is not what I am getting as mayor. The central government is playing vindictive politics with the lives of Guyanese,” he said, and accused the administration of distributing COVID-19 relief grants to only certain sections of society.
He is also holding the administration accountable for terminating the employment of a large percentage of Afro-Guyanese citizens.
“I am not here representing any political party. I am willing to work with the government for all of the people. I am here to reach out to dignitaries to seek help for the citizens of Georgetown,” said Narine, who shared that all councilors of the other nine regions received their monthly stipend of GUY$75,000 (USD$300.75), except him, who has not been paid since October 2020.
The straightforward mayor said he is being victimized, but will continue to serve the people, adding, this is not the way people should treat each other, and called for unity in the interest of all Guyanese.
The crumbling City Hall edifice, an eyesore in the City of Georgetown for many years, will receive only GUY$100 million from the administration for repairs, despite an estimated cost of $1B, as calculated by the European Union.
He said the money should not go to City Hall, but instead, called for a joint effort between the two entities to complete the project. In the meantime, the Town Clerk secretariat and chamber will be relocated to facilitate the renovation.
The City and State of New York honored the mayor for his exemplary service to the people of Guyana and the capital city of Georgetown. Council Member Adrianne Adams, of the District 28 Queens, whom he met with presented a NYC citation. Newly elected Assemblywoman of Assembly District 38, Jennifer Rajkumar, also presented the mayor with a citation.