Dear Editor,Is it not yet time for the policymakers and administrators at the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown (M&CC) to own up to their mistakes, and to take responsibility for the beleaguered state of our capital city rather than attempting to chastise and penalize everyone else?Quite recently, a major revenue scam was uncovered, whereby it was discovered that a large number of vendors were issued fake receipts by revenue staff for vending fees and rents paid. One would have thought that the Police would have been called in; that a comprehensive audit of the market revenue system would have been undertaken; and that the Councillors and citizens would have been formally notified.Of course none of this was done, because the M&CC do not conform to the norms of good governance, transparency and accountability. So everything was quietly swept under the carpet, and ironically, it was the vendors from Alexander Street who were harassed instead.Then we had the bizarre discovery of a farmer who was accused of rearing and slaughtering pigs inside of Le Repentir Cemetery, at the southern section, for more than 15 years now. The slaughtered pigs were then sold at the Bourda Market. Are pigs no longer slaughtered at the City’s abattoir? Now, certainly, the public health risk cannot be overemphasized, and the urgent need to remove this farmer cannot be overstated.Instead, however, one elder Councillor opined that the Council had to consider the livelihood of the farmer, whilst a leading municipal official said she had compassion on farmers because she does not want to take bread out of the mouths of people. Unbelievable!Clearly, these Councillors believe that it is more important to keep bread in the mouths of the farmer and her children than to prevent the citizenry from being exposed to all of the bacteria and pathogens that can be transmitted from the graveyard to buyers at the Bourda Market via the pigs (pork).But do you think the farmer has since been removed? Of course not! Instead, she now has more than half a dozen sows and scores of piglets wallowing in, and drinking, the cemetery’s groundwater. Simply preposterous!Another example of the twisted thinking of City Hall is their predisposition to not pay over NIS deductions to the National Insurance Scheme, and pay-as-you-earn taxes to the Guyana Revenue Authority, which are taken out of the employees’ salaries, and other deductions, such as credit union dues etc; and then, when questioned about it, turn around and say, ‘So what? It is not the Council alone that owes these entities’, as if to say that it is okay to break the law if others are doing same.But who really is being penalized? Not the Council, but rather the poor employees, who cannot enjoy medical benefits or acquire loans from their Credit Union etc.The Georgetown Municipality is very much out of control. It is very bloated, and is infested with fraud and deceit and corruption and abuse of power.SincerelyAnu Bihari
This will be the first Clasico without either Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo since December 2007, when Julio Baptista’s winner was the difference in a 1-0 win for Real Madrid.There have been 35 games between them since. Messi has lit up more than a few – the hat-trick in 2007, the two free-kicks, and that run, leaving five Madrid players for dead, Sergio Ramos twice.In a stall on Carrer d’Aristides Maillol, lining the western edge of Camp Nou, a vendor stands under a collection of red and yellow scarves, behind him pinned up shirts with Messi, 10, on their backs.“We will sell Messi shirts here even 20 years after he retires,” he says. “Nothing will change on Sunday.” What does a Clasico mean without Messi? “No hay”. “There isn’t one”.Which isn’t true of course. It was 1902 when Barcelona first appeared in Madrid for the semi-final of the Copa Coronacion. There have been 199 of them without Messi and there will be many more after he has gone.There is no other footballer that attracts so much adulation so far around the globe as Lionel Messi © AFP/File / HECTOR RETAMALBut in this current era, this fixture, at Camp Nou, is about him more than anyone else. Everyone wants to witness Messi once, still more on the biggest stage.When he stayed down clutching his broken right arm against Sevilla last weekend, it was a blow for Barca but a blow too for the thousands that thought they were eight days away.More than 8,000 kilometres away in Whitehorse, northern Canada, Barcelona fan Myles was one of those watching. He has ‘MESSI’ as his car number plate. His six years supporting means he has only ever known the club with Messi in it.“I consider myself a big Barca fan but I have a special obsession with Messi,” he says.Myles and his girlfriend paid 500 euros each for tickets to this Clasico. Their 19-hour flights, each way, cost a combined 1600 Canadian dollars.“To say I was shell-shocked when he got injured is an understatement,” Myles says. It is not about the money. “In a scenario where it was guaranteed Messi would play I would have paid north of 2000 dollars for tickets.”The sense of time running out increases the stakes for these far-away fans. Messi turned 31 in June and this next meeting is a sneak peak into the future. Not long away, supporters will wonder if every Clasico could be his last.For Lionel Messi’s fanatical fans there is a growing sense of time running out to see the star in action as Messi turned 31 in June © AFP/File / GASTON DE CARDENASLucas is from Texas, celebrating his 10-year wedding anniversary in Spain. He will go alone to the Camp Nou on Sunday, where he has shelled out 1400 US dollars on a VIP ticket.“I knew it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me,” Lucas said. “I thought it could be my first, and likely only time, watching Messi play.”There are the family connections too, like Marta and her brother Javier, who have flown over from Tenerife, and have been Barcelona fans since they were children.“We support Barca but we love Messi,” Marta said. “Our hope has always been to see Barca at the Camp Nou but even more exciting was to see the best player in history. The injury against Sevilla left us so disappointed.”And those that came out of national pride like Laucha, who has travelled from Viedma in Argentina. “I am a Boca Juniors fan and the expense was considerable, but Messi is Messi,” she said. “This opportunity will probably not come again for me. It hurts in the depths of my soul.”Samantha from England, whose husband is taking their fanatical eight-year-old son as a birthday present, would even accept a sighting. “Perhaps he could still walk around the pitch and wave,” she says.There is no other footballer that attracts so much adulation so far around the globe as Messi.As the biggest teams are increasingly watched more on screens than from stands, by supporters with no tangible link to their cities, the most recognisable players are becoming just as iconic as their clubs.When one website advertised tickets on Twitter for last weekend’s game between Barca and Sevilla, the bait was catching Messi in full flow. “Sevilla are one of #Messi’s favourite victims,” it read.Madrid are too. He has 26 goals in 38 games against them, but not on Sunday. For his opponents, relief. For some of his fans, regret, and the hope the chance will come round again.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Lionel Messi – misses Clasico © AFP / LLUIS GENEBARCELONA, Spain, Oct 27 – Barcelona will miss Lionel Messi on Sunday – his goals, his dribbles, his presence as much as anything – but the angst will be gone with the help of three weeks’ rest and a sling.For the fans that came to see him, not the match or the teams, but him, the disappointment will be harder to shake.