Sep 04, 2014 News
– Minister unaware of any order
By Zena Henry
The Mayor and City Councillors (M&CC) were anxious yesterday when they claimed that they were caught off guard with news from Town Clerk (ag), Carol Sooba, that the City Council and all other Local Government organs have been dissolved since August 31, last.
While it was not clear from whom these instructions were coming, Mayor Hamilton Green stated that the Town Clerk (ag) allegedly used the information to call off a meeting that did not require her presence. Several City Councillors, Officers and other staffers were present when the Municipality held its regular Finance Committee meeting yesterday.
Meanwhile, the acting Town Clerk told Kaieteur News yesterday that the Mayor and his Councillors have distorted what she had said. She told this newspaper that she called off the Finance meeting after explaining to the attendees that she is seeking legal advice as to whether the City Council and other local bodies should be dissolved.
Her actions, she explained, were in light of a memo which was sent to Council Officers by the Mayor. Sooba claimed that the memo warned City Officers to take no orders from her; that she was an intruder on the Council’s premises. Among other things, they were told that the only way to resolve the confusion at City Hall was by way of Local Government Elections.
Citing a court ruling last Friday which was in her favour, Sooba said that the Council had no power to send her on administrative leave. This, along with the memo, was taken into consideration when she sought to inform the meeting’s attendees that the meeting is called off, because legal advice is being sought as to whether the Council and other local government organs should be dissolved.
According to Councillor Eon Andrews, the acting Town Clerk had arrived at yesterday’s meeting earlier than most of the Councillors and had taken her seat next to the committee’s secretary, who is a staffer from her office. Acting Chairman Oscar Clarke headed the meeting since Councillor Junior Garrett, the former Finance Chairman, had been voted out by a majority vote at the Council’s statutory meeting two weeks ago.
Andrews claimed that before the meeting could have commenced, the Town Clerk (ag) informed that she had an important announcement to make. According to Andrews, Sooba said that her announcement would very well “negate” the Finance meeting or any other meeting of the Council.
Sooba was, however, allowed to make her announcement. Andrews explained that it was then that the acting Town Clerk, purporting to read from a missive, explained that “that meeting cannot go on and no other meetings can go on, and that any meetings that involve Councillors are not going to happen in future.”
Andrews claimed that Sooba went on to state that the Council, all local government authorities and democratic organs have been put aside since they had been dissolved since August 31. After the acting Chairman explained to Sooba that he was unaware of the information she provided, Andrews recalled that Sooba then instructed all the City Officers and staffers back to their posts to await further instructions.
The only person who left with the Town Clerk (ag) was the Committee’s secretary, while the City Treasurer, Solid Waste Manager and others remained. The Finance Committee later aborted their meeting to be held at a later time.
Mayor Green told the media that he has already consulted the Council’s lawyers. He said that the information forwarded by Sooba is evidence of the Council’s “further descent into the depths of nonsense.”
The Mayor said, there are procedures to be followed involving such matters, but no information has reached the Council. He condemned any negative actions by the City Secretary towards the Council.
Local Government Minister, Norman Whittaker told Kaieteur News yesterday that he was handling official business in Region Two and was not aware of what is happening in the city. He stated, however, that he is unaware of any action as it relates to the dissolution of local government authorities.
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