Georgetown Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk, Royston King, are expected to face a blistering firestorm following another secret trip – this time to China.
Several Councillors, including Deputy Mayor, Lionel Jaikaran, were not officially briefed prior to the departure of the two senior officials to China. When contacted about the purpose of the trip, Jaikaran told Kaieteur News that he was not informed officially about the trip to China.
He said that the Mayor informed him on Friday, November 3, that she would be out of the jurisdiction from Sunday November 5, and that he will have to perform the duties of Mayor in her absence.
According to Jaikaran, he subsequently learned via unofficial channels that the Mayor and Town Clerk had travelled to China. Jaikaran said he never heard the trip discussed at Council meetings nor had he seen it in the minutes of those meetings.
“I was told by the Mayor the Friday that I will have to chair the next Statutory Meeting of the Council [held yesterday],” Jaikaran stated.
Subsequent checks found that the Mayor and the Town Clerk were accompanied by the City Engineer Colvern Venture to China.
“I hope it was a successful meeting because we are in dire financial straits here at the Council,” Jaikarn explained.
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 the two cities. He also stated that central Government had not paid for the trip to China.
There are now numerous questions overshadowing the trip and ahead of King’s return, a Special Extra Ordinary Meeting has been planned for today. Several senior staffers at the M&CC, including Public Relations Officer, Debra Lewis, declined to comment on the trip
The delegation will have the opportunity to explain the trip and face multiple questions from Councillors at an extra-ordinary meeting which is planned for today. On the agenda, is ‘discussion on the visit to Fuju, China’.
Some of the questions likely to be posed include, why the Mayor and the Town Clerk had not informed the Council officially prior to the China trip? Who paid for the trip? What special offers did the M&CC officials promise to deliver to their counterparts in China? Did the M&CC sign any agreements with the city of Fuzhou? What role, if any, does the trip play in China’s continued push into the business community in Georgetown?
Chase-Green appears to be a big fan of China and has already promised to pursue renaming Sheriff Street, where the Chinese Embassy is located to ‘Fuzhou Road’ in honour of the great relationship between the cities of Georgetown and China’s Fuzhou.
The China trip is similar to another trip made by the Mayor and Town Clerk to Mexico City in June last year. On the Mexico trip, Chase-Green and King were accompanied by Councillors Oscar Clarke and Junior Garrett while the M&CC was pursuing parking meters for the city.
Similar questions being raised about the trip to China were made in relation to the Mexico visit. The trip to Mexico was an attempt to justify a signed agreement with Smart City Solutions which is partnering with National Parking Systems (NPS) to introduce the meters.
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