Mayor of the City of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine, is not a proponent of implementing a lockdown at this time because according to him, the Municipal and District Councils Act does not give him the authority to do so.

The official made these and other comments during a press conference he held earlier today. There, the Mayor said that he has been in receipt of calls for the City to go on lockdown. He noted however that the City is not a “light bulb” that one can switch on and off.

The Mayor specifically stated, “…The City is not a light bulb where you can flick a switch and lock it down like that. We will not lock down the City. We will work closely with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders including the Private Sector Commission, the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, commercial banks and other organizations to make sure we maintain safety…”

The Mayor was then asked by members of the media to say if there was a meeting of the Municipalities to ensure a collaborative and cohesive response to the COVID-19 fight. The question was premised on the fact that several towns such as New Amsterdam and Linden have been tailoring their own response to ensure social distancing such as a 7PM and 8 PM curfew respectively, along with sanitization efforts for the various parts of the towns.

In response, the Mayor said, “At this moment, I will continue to work with the Ministries. We do have a team working with the Public Health Ministry and we met with the Ministry of Communities up to Friday but we don’t have authority to restrict business from operating and we will be guided by the Ministries on how we must be able to take our next move on COVID-19.”

Pressed to say if the Ministry of Communities has called for a meeting, Mayor Narine said he would not give an answer in this regard. He did reveal however that the meeting between the Ministry and the City Council was in relation to getting assistance to enhance the council’s initiatives around the city which would ensure citizens can wash their wash hands etc.

Further to this, the Mayor said that the implications of a lockdown need to be carefully considered while adding, “We will not move independently because 28.01 (the Municipal and District Councils Act) does not give us authority to do so.”

When quizzed to say if he is suggesting that the move by other Councilors to enforce a curfew is against the law, Narine retorted, “I am not speaking on that, I am speaking as Mayor of Georgetown.”

Another member of the media was keen to remind Mayor Narine that while the law does not specifically, speak to a curfew, it does give him the power to decide the hours of operations for businesses. The Mayor was adamant however that he will not go down that road.

He said, “The city is the heart of the country and I will continue to communicate with the Ministries of Communities and Public Health and other stakeholders. We can’t just operate like that. Measures are being put in place to prevent the spread (of the virus). This is not a one-man show… I will not go and tell business owners to close down…”

In addition to this, Mayor Narine reminded that there are eight coronavirus cases in Guyana and if the situation worsens, he will be in contact with the Ministries of Health, Communities, and Security and other stakeholders on the direction to be taken.

“This is not one-man business, this is everybody business. So I can’t see why people pressing for the city to lockdown. You know if the city lockdown the crisis this country would face? That is why I continue to be guided by the government,” the Mayor concluded.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here