There are calls for City Mayor Patricia Chase-Green to publicise her trips overseas following another accusation of a secret trip to China.
At an Extraordinary Meeting of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) last evening, the Mayor confirmed that she visited the Fuzhou City, in the Fujian Province, which shares a twinning relationship with the city of Georgetown.
Chase-Green informed the council that she had mentioned the visit, and that this was indicated in the Council’s minutes of October 16. She informed the Council that she was invited to visit China, but at the October meeting, she indicated that no decision was taken on who would accompany her on the visit.
However, there was no evidence provided by the Mayor that she informed the Council that the meeting had in fact been changed from October 25-27 to November 5-15. It appears that this is where the breakdown in communication may have occurred.
She said that as Mayor she did not need to tell the Council who she was taking on the trip.
As it turned out, the Mayor was accompanied by Town Clerk, Royston King; Chairman of the Finance Committee, Mr. Oscar Clarke; City Engineer, Colvern Venture and member of the International Relationship Committee, Carolyn Caesar-Murray.
She recalled that the former City Mayor, Hamilton Green in 2006, signed a twinning agreement between the two cities. The agreement went dormant and Mayor Chase-Green spoke of resurrecting it, following discussions with the Chinese.
“I as Mayor felt there should be no objection. We are in dire need of assistance and throughout the world as we were there [in China] there were many other cities that were signing on as sister cities with Fuzhou,” Green stated.
She added, “Am I to understand as Mayor of this City I am not allowed to look for ways and means for development of this city? Any mayor does that and it was not at the expense of the Council.”
Councillor Sherod Duncan questioned the purpose of the twinning agreements and their ability to deliver effective benefits. He called upon the Town Clerk to ensure that the Mayor’s visits are properly publicized.
She stated that the trip was largely paid for by the Chinese and that she did not abandon the city employees, some of whom have not been paid for October.
“The Council did not pay, so I did not leave the workers hungry as suggested by Councillor Duncan,’ Chase-Green said.
Several Councillors, including Deputy Mayor, Lionel Jaikaran, were not officially briefed prior to the departure of the 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.
During last evening’s meeting, the Deputy Mayor repeated what he had told Kaieteur News. 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 would 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.
Chase-Green appears to be a big fan of China, and has already promised to pursue renaming the road outside the Chinese Embassy to ‘Fuzhou Road’ in honour of the great relationship between the cities. She said this was just a continuation of a previous decision taken by Mayor Green.
The China trip was 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 partnered with National Parking Systems (NPS) to introduce the meters.
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