By Caribbean News Now contributor
GEORGETOWN, Guyana — Guyanese from all walks of life are united and angry that the mayor of Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Green, has again taken a “secret” trip abroad, this time to China. Prior to that, Chase-Green and town clerk, Royston King, travelled to Mexico on an alleged secret mission where they signed a parking meter contract shrouded in “secrecy and corruption”, according to local media reports.
Guyanese were united in bringing an end to her ambitious parking meter project. However, it took government intervention to end the fiasco.
Now she is again at the centre of another scandal – her trip to China last week. Town council members claimed that Chase-Green and King did not inform them about the China trip, which came on the heels of her announcement that a major street in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown, will be named after China.
Deputy mayor, Lionel Jaikaran, told the media that he subsequently learned via unofficial channels that the mayor and town clerk had travelled to China. Jaikaran said that the trip was not discussed at Council meetings nor had he seen it in the minutes of those meetings.
Chase-Green’s secret trip to China went viral on Facebook. The public vented their anger at the mayor and accused her of planning other secret deals and contracts in China to “full their pockets”.
One citizen, full of sarcasm, said on Facebook, “If the AFC members can take private trips to Texas to sell our oil and hide our country’s oil contract, why can’t (King and Chase-Green) go to China and sell other parts of Guyana. They should sell out everything, even their supporters.”
However, minister of communities, Ronald Bulkan, confirmed that he knew about the visit to China and that the delegation was expected to explore ‘twinning opportunities’ between two cities. He also stated that central government had not paid for the trip to China, according to the Guyana Kaieteur News. There is widespread speculation that the government of China or the Chinese private sector paid for King and Chase-Green’s trip.
Guyanese government officials have been “begging for paid overseas trips”. They are busy asking their diplomats and others to “beg for money and free trips abroad, instead of paying money to market the country and solicit investors the right way,” claimed one diplomat.
Another Guyanese citizen said, “They (Chase-Green/King) feel powerful. They can do things as they like.” The mayor has come under heavy criticism from members of her own party and the Georgetown Council for being “arrogant and obstinate”.
And in another nasty scandal that has rocked Chase-Green’s leadership to the core, is an incident of a lance corporal who is accused of having sex with a “detained male juvenile” at her City Hall, and which wasn’t reported to the police and the parents of the juvenile.
Ironically, it looks like the mayor has no control of her City Hall. Chase-Green claimed that she will not be an accessory to a crime that she knows nothing about, but she knew about it because Chief Constable Andrew Foo brought it to her attention, she admitted on Tuesday, prompting questions as to why did she not report it to the police immediately.
The incident took place between August 22 and August 23, and was brought to the attention of Chase-Green. She then demanded “a report” in her own words. Why did she not report the matter to the police, people are asking. Now she is passing the blame on to Foo. She said, referring to Foo, “You did nothing.”
What is more alarming is the fact that “the lance corporal (Clifton Pellew) being accused, was involved in a matter of a similar nature before,” according to a Stabroek News report.
Guyanese social activist and artist, Mark Jacobs, referring to this incident back in September, wrote, “The mayor and City Council of Georgetown is a cesspool of lawlessness and depravities of the lowest order. Lance Corporal Clifton Pellew has a long rap sheet of … committed in the city constabulary building, and he is still wearing the uniform… but not for long.”