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Georgetown’s Mayor-elect talks up inclusion but downplays vote against PPP

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 July 2023, 16:25 by Denis Chabrol

Georgetown’s Mayor-elect, Alfred Mentore has promised to govern the crisis-plagued City inclusively but shied away from saying why the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) was sidelined from playing major roles in the Council.

Referring to allegations by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo on the 2023 Local Government Elections campaign that he had illegally sold a number of city properties, Mr Mentore said the time has come to work together across the political divide. “As Mayor-elect, I personally would like to bury the hatchet of that situation, of that past and for us to put our collective shoulders to the wheel. Let us turn a new page and let us find a way to reach across the aisle and find ways how we can work together and be able to build the City regardless of who is wearing a green shirt or who is wearing a red shirt,” he said in clear reference to the party colours of APNU and PPP.

Asked to compare his desire to work across party lines for the benefit of the City with the obvious lack of evidence by APNU to do so, Mr Mentor said the PPPC did not reach out to his political organisation. “We were not consulted by the other side in treating with these matters so that we can able to think about it as an option. We are not the one to reach across the aisle in this particular issue and we went ahead in a move to have a Mayor and the Deputy from our side,” he told Demerara Waves Online News. The Deputy Mayor is veteran PNCR member, Denise Miller.

Quizzed on why APNU instead did not take the lead and reach out to the PPP, he said his side did not receive any signals. “If, maybe, that was posed to us, maybe we would have thought about it” and added that “I’m not at liberty to deal with that. This is the first term. We could look at from the other terms as we go along.”

The only opposition inclusion was the PPP’s Jainarine “Don” Singh on the seven-member Finance Committee. By virtue of bipartisan support,  Mr Singh raked in the highest number of votes.

The Mayor-elect promised that he would do his best to earn trust, build relations and “extend an olive branch” to the 11 PPP Councillors and Central government leaders to work to improve Georgetown’s infrastructure and “bring a better life to all.” “For my job as Mayor and for us to be successful, we would need to work together,” he added.  He identified the need for a stronger sense of team work to address the many serious problems facing the City such as flooding, aging infrastructure, markets, and poor and damaged roads. “We need a stronger sense of teamwork,” he said.

Despite losing his constituency to a People’s Progressive Party (PPP) candidate, Mr Mentore was handpicked from the list of Proportional Representation (PR) candidates to become the City Mayor, something he thanked Mr Aubrey Norton, the Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform and Chairman of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) “for reposing the confidence and trust in me with this significant appointment to lead the City at this most critical juncture.”

Meanwhile Mr Mentore denied allegations by Vice President Bharrat that the Council had sold property, and challenged him to provide proof. “It’s erroneous, it’s a lie and I will ask the Vice President to produce any evidence to prove this,” he said. Mr Mentore said no document had been sent to either the APNU+Alliance For Change administration Local Government Minister Ronald Bulkan or his People’s Progressive Party administration successor Nigel Dharamlall requesting permission to sell Council’s property.

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July 2023