Deputy Mayor, Lionel Jaikaran, has warned that Town Clerk Royston King’s pursuit of legal action in the Bel Air playground matter is without the approval of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).
M&CC approached the Court in a bid to have a ruling by Justice Gino Persaud pertaining to a plot of community land located at Bel Air Park, Georgetown, set aside.
“News of the Town Clerk’s continuation of the court action stopping the city council’s attempt to appropriate the Bel Air Park playground has come as a complete surprise to me, there being no consultation or vote by the council on this matter,” Jaikaran explained.
The land at the centre of the contention is located along Eping Avenue, Bel Air Park Georgetown and was earmarked as the community playground.
According to court documents, the Council had intended to sell or lease reserved community lands to a private developer.
The Council was in negotiations with local housing developer, Terrence Taljit, to transfer to him prime community lands despite a restriction on the transport of the property for use as community purposes only.
The plot of land is earmarked by the Council to construct housing for top members of the City Administration.
Attorney for the M&CC, Roger Yearwood, filed proceedings requesting that the judgment be set aside and a stay be granted against the execution of the order.
Based on the application made, a hearing is set to take place before Justice Persaud at the High Court on February 12, 2018. It is unclear how much taxpayer funds are being used to pursue the matter in the High Court, which now appears, based on Jaikaran’s observations, to be devoid of council members.
Even after the court ruling, officers of the Council moved to clear and fence the open playfield.
“I am extremely concerned that the unilateral acts of the Town Clerk are tarnishing the reputation of the entire council, this being particularly troubling since the matter has neither been discussed nor voted on by the full council,” Jaikaran stated.
He noted that the decision to ‘destroy the park’ and use it for housing was never discussed and sanctioned by the full Council.
According to the Deputy Mayor, there is a discussion among counsel for the Bel Air Park residents about the possibility of lodging a criminal complaint under the provisions of the state asset recovery act, which defines state assets to include municipal property.
“I would like to make it clear to the public that I did not know of and do not approve the Town Clerk’s actions to appropriate the playground for housing for himself and senior City Hall officials,” Jaikaran pointed out.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, has condemned the attempts by the Georgetown Mayor and City Council to convert the Bel Air Park playfield into a space for residential use.
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