The split between Mayor Hamilton Green and his team and the acting Town Clerk and her team was made obvious once again yesterday as Acting Town Clerk Carol Sooba, walked out of the Council’s statutory meeting, taking her senior officers with her.
Before the proceedings could get underway, Sooba said to Mayor Hamilton Green and Councilors that the meeting was not “duly constituted” because she was not allowed to say the prayers. As a result she left the meeting telling officers, which included the Solid Waste Manager, City Engineer among others, to exit.
The weekly gathering of Councilors and Officers would usually commence with prayers and the reciting of the National Pledge. However, given certain remarks made about Christians by the Town Clerk (Ag) during the Easter Day spot sales issues, the Mayor- in a later address- explained to the media that he saw it fit to have Councilors say their own prayers.
While Councilors silently prayed to themselves, the Town Clerk (Ag) continued to register her disapproval in not being allowed to read the prayers. She thus walked out of Council Chambers during the reciting of the National Pledge, telling Officers to remove because the meeting was unconstitutional.
Apparently unsure about what to do, the Officers stood around the Chamber until the Town Clerk (Ag) returned shortly after, instructing them once more to remove because the meeting is not constituted.
People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Councilors after registering their disgust with the constant tug between the two sides also left the meeting as other Councilors contemplated their next move. Mayor Green later requested of the Chief Constabulary Officer, Andrew Foo, to summon the Deputy Town Clerk to record the minutes of the Council.
However, Foo informed the Mayor that the administrators had left the compound and given the situation he has to maintain order. He added that he could not leave the Chambers until the Mayor’s mace is removed.
The Mayor accepted the excuse and announced that a special meeting should be convened on Friday to deal with the matter.
Prior to this, Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green had read out the Council’s standing orders which do not speak to the reciting of prayers as a constituted duty, but rather a formality. She said that anyone can say the prayers and it is a prerogative of the Chairman or head of the meeting to decide who can read the prayers.
Chase-Green added, also, that “personally” given Sooba’s utterances about Christians during Easter she does not care for the Town Clerk to say prayers on her behalf. She agreed with the Mayor that the religious denominations vary with Councilors, so it would be fitting for everyone to say a silent prayer.
Another Councilor charged that Sooba’s action to walk out of the meeting was premeditated. A colleague beside her questioned the tolerance of the Council in allowing such behaviour.
Apart from the fiasco, Councilors also expressed their disgust as certain matters to be discussed were omitted in the Council’s agenda despite being sent to the Town Clerk’s office to be set. This included the motion to discipline the Town Clerk (Ag) and Constabulary officers who took part in the “illegal” sale of Easter spots on the seawall and another motion for a vote to be taken on Sooba’s removal as Secretary to the Council.
In an emergency press briefing, the Mayor related that the Town Clerk has also seen it fit to write him a letter requesting that he “immediately” return the Statutory Mace which was left at her office for a few days. The Statutory Mace and the Mayor’s chair are symbols of his authority, the media was told.
The Town Clerk said she was not available when media operatives requested a comment.
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